The Precarious Walk: Essays from Sand and Sky by Phyllis Barber offers a collection of essays in a voice that is both intimate and captivating. In these essays, the author provides dazzling recollections of her travels while unraveling a spiritual atmosphere that gives depth to her experience of traveling the physical roads.
From examining her roots in the Mojave Desert to experiencing other places and cultures — Tibet, Ecuador, and the Arkansas countryside, Barber has a great eye for detail, and her ability to capture nature in her writing stands out. There is a connection between the places she has been and her soul, and from her contact with the natural phenomenon, she searches to unveil the power of the invisible. These essays are beautifully crafted and they are enriched by the author's storytelling skills. They examine themes of love, faith, loss, the quest for meaning, and human connections.
Phyllis Barber's essays feature prose that is fluid and she writes about themes that are resonant and in a way that leaves deep stirrings in the hearts of readers as they recall how places and people have affected and shaped them. The very first essay paints a dazzling image of the author's relationship with the place of her upbringing. She observes that there is something unique about growing up in the Mojave Desert that won't leave her mind — ''a rip in the sky, a test, a gash that showed the sky’s insides for a minute.'' The Precarious Walk: Essays from Sand and Sky is a brilliant collection written in exquisitely balanced prose and in a voice that is equally mesmerizing.