Signs and Wonders: Dispatches from a time of beauty and loss
Date: September 2021
Duration: 7 hours 41 minutes
Chosen as a 2021 ‘Book of the Year’ in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Book Review. Longlisted for the 2022 Nib Literary Awards.
The celebrated, Walkley Award-winning author on how global warming is changing not only our climate but our culture. Beautifully observed, brilliantly argued and deeply felt, these essays show that our emotions, our art, our relationships with the generations around us – all the delicate networks that make us who we are – have already been transformed.
In Signs and Wonders, Falconer explores how it feels to live as a reader, a writer, a lover of nature and a mother of small children in an era of profound ecological change.
Building on Falconer’s two acclaimed essays, ‘Signs and Wonders’ and the Walkley Award-winning ‘The Opposite of Glamour’, Signs and Wonders is a pioneering examination of how we are changing our culture, language and imaginations along with our climate. Is a mammoth emerging from the permafrost beautiful or terrifying? How is our imagination affected when something that used to be ordinary – like a car windscreen smeared with insects – becomes unimaginable? What can the disappearance of the paragraph from much contemporary writing tell us about what’s happening in the modern mind?
Scientists write about a 'great acceleration' in human impact on the natural world. Signs and Wonders shows that we are also in a period of profound cultural acceleration, which is just as dynamic, strange, extreme and, sometimes, beautiful. Ranging from an ‘unnatural’ history of coal to the effect of a large fur seal turning up in the park below her apartment, this book is a searching and poetic examination of the ways we are thinking about how, and why, to live now.
‘Only the finest of writers can hope to convey the mercurial nature of the times we are living though: the sense of slippage; of terror and beauty. Falconer is such a writer. Signs and Wonders is an essential collection.’ Sophie Cunningham, author of City of Trees
‘Delia Falconer is one of the best writers working today, and in Signs and Wonders she demonstrates everything that makes her writing so necessary. Brave, beautiful, and breathtaking in its elegance and intelligence, it is, quite simply, a marvel.’ James Bradley
‘Scintillating. Delia Falconer is at the peak of her powers as a critic, and as an observer of the natural world. Signs and Wonders looks outward from Sydney, and from literature, to trace the contours of our environmental moment.’ Rebecca Giggs, author of Fathoms
‘Exquisite … From reflections on feeding birds, analyses of literary trends, to Falconer’s Covid and fire diaries, the essays are complex, ambitious, rewarding … Delia Falconer’s mesmerising Signs and Wonders helps us to process the disorienting complexity of living in this time of great beauty and loss.’ Jonica Newby, Australian Book Review