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In this intimate and compassionate record of her service as a counselor on a suicide and crisis hotline, the bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses turns her attention to the troubled lives of those suffering from what she calls the “small demonology of our age”—anxiety, depression, and all the trials, uncertainties, and conflicts of love. Through the stories of her callers—from Louise, a single mother on the verge of suicide, to “Saxman,” a manic-depressove with a ghoulish sense of humor Diane Ackerman offers fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior and suggests that crisis is an innate part of existence. A Slender Thread is that rare book that acknowledges the truth of life’s pain but is also filled with hope, sensitivitiy, and a radiant generosity of spirit.
“Wrenching yet inspiring. . . . Ackerman has provided a lifeline to more readers than she will ever know.” —Los Angeles Sunday Times
“Both a sensuous road map through depression, despair and loss of self, and a homage to the wonder, multiplicity and rejuvenating power of nature, this new book . . . is, quite simply, wonderful. Ackerman has worked for years as a counselor at a suicide prevention and crisis center in her hometown in upstate New York. She describes her work as that of a ‘sorrow ranger.’ The slender thread of the title refers to the phone wires that reach invisibly between Ackerman and the frightened, hopeless, often desperate person at the other end and to the strength that keeps us going through the hard times. . . . Ackerman leads the reader on a respectful, deeply emotional, life-affirming journey.” —Publishers Weekly