A Hesitant Adventurer's Search for Wonder in the Natural World
Children have the ability to marvel over simple things in nature—leaves, pebbles, twigs. When she becomes a mother, Leigh Ann Henion starts to question: Could experiencing earth's most dazzling natural phenomena make the world similarly new again? Phenomenal is the improbable story of how she chases eclipses, auroras, and other natural phenomena around the globe to reawaken her sense of wonder.
Whether standing on the still-burning volcanoes of Hawai‘i or in the fearsome lightning storms of Venezuela, amid the vast wildebeest migration in Tanzania, or the millions of swirling butterflies that roost on a mountaintop in Mexico, Henion discovers the visceral awe that her child experiences every day. Her spiritual wanderlust puts her in the path of modern-day shamans, reindeer herders, and astrophysicists. These seekers trust their instincts, follow their passions, shape their days into the lives they most want to lead. And, somewhere along the way, Leigh Ann Henion becomes one of them.
Praise For Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer's Search for Wonder in the Natural World…
"Intricately detailed, impeccably researched, eloquently described stories about the world's most phenomenal places."
"Part travel memoir, part parenting manifesto and part inquiry into those 'fleeting, extraordinary glimpses of something that left us groping for rational explanations in the quicksand of all-encompassing wonder.'"
"Henion... takes readers around the world in her lovely, lyrical memoir."
"Henion pursues her quest with great integrity, and in turn, the reader does too, as we begin to see...the true inherent wonder in her world—and in ours."
"Leigh Ann Henion's Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventuer's Search for Wonder in the Natural World is an inspiring nonfiction narrative about exploration and identity...It's a fascinating journey, and Henion chronicles it with the heart and eye of an artist. This delightful hybrid of a book blends memoir, history, and philosophy into a modern meditation on motherhood and the quest for a fulfilled life."
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love
“What a cool and fascinating ride. Leigh Ann Henion has tackled one of the great questions of contemporary, intelligent, adventurous women: Is it possible to be a wife and mother and still explore the world? Her answer seems to be that this is not only possible, but essential. This story shows how. I think it will open doors for many.”
Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
"A moving and original memoir about the search for transcendence in moments both large and small."
Ruth Ozeki , author of A Tale for the Time Being
“Leigh Ann Henion’s exhilarating book (and life!) is everything the title suggests and more. Reading Phenomenal will give you courage—courage to explore the world we live in, and further, courage to explore your self. With moments of breath-stealing beauty, wild intelligence, and unrelenting honesty, Phenomenal is a true gift for everyone who’s ever been curious.”
Penguin Books, 9780143108030, 288pp.
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
About the Author