With these short stories, deeply indebted to Sufi Tales and Jataka stories (as well as to the Brothers Grimm and American folktales), Steven Nightingale offers testimonies of revelation, mischief, miracles, and grace given him by sixty-four remarkable women who’ve appeared in his life over time.
These delightful pieces combine humor and sensuality with surrealism and an oblique spirituality, and each becomes an opportunity of gentle instruction, invention, and entertainment. The book describes a spiritual pilgrimage, beautifully written, a unique offering from this wonderful writer.
STEVEN NIGHTINGALE is the author of two novels and six books of sonnets, as well as numerous essays. His poetry has been widely anthologized, and he has taught poetry in more than fifty schools and universities. He lives in Woodside, California, with his family.
“… Nightingale’s transcendent collection offers 64 vignettes, with a nod to folktales, which explore the wonder, grace, and humor of life and the many paths within and around it…. Inquisitive and surreal, Nightingale’s imaginative tales extend into the recesses of mind and spirit as his characters grapple with life’s moral and metaphysical questions.” —Booklist
“Sixty-four mystical fables purportedly told to the author by powerful, entrancing women he’s encountered in a far-ranging life . . . If these insights draw you in, make you think, or give you spiritual goosebumps, this book will be an ice cream store with 64 flavors . . . A light-footed exploration of the mysteries of our existence, with the consistent theme that paradise is here on Earth.” —Kirkus
“With the concision of a poet and the expansiveness of a true storyteller, Steven Nightingale has fashioned a wonderful collection of gem-like tales, all of them told by, about, or through women around the world and across time. Their voices are resonant, their stories incredibly varied. They bring to mind the interconnected stories of Henri Michaux and the mosaic structure of the ‘Thousand and One Nights.’ This is a journey of revelations to be read and reread.”—Nicholas Christopher
“Each woman in Steven Nightingale’s The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace is strong, idiosyncratic, certain, and, in most cases, in possession of a kind of work in which she excels. Together they form a chorus. The book becomes a creed, as radical as it is ancient. It offers an assessment of the state of the world. It celebrates the co-creating power of work on oneself. And it is an invitation to see that paradise is in the world and to move toward it.”—Mary Rakow, author of This is Why I Came and The Memory Room
“These gem-like tales form a kind of love song to the feminine principle, that aspect of each of us that is irrational, untamed, and intuitive. Although this principle is always under threat from logic and order, Steven Nightingale illustrates some of the ways in which it can flare up and illuminate the darkness.” —Lisa Alther, author of Kinflicks and About Women
“The imagination and creativity in Steve Nightingale’s The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace cannot be surpassed. Within each story is a lesson worth learning. The depth of wisdom comes forth and holds you in her hand until you laugh or your jaw drops open in amazement. Using both the glory and the mystery of religion, these stories explore the minds of women and tell you the wonder of a man who loves them.” —The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, president of The Regeneration Project, Interfaith Power & Light
“A brilliant and cunning collection of found and fashioned stories, marvelously told/written. Like Michel Tournier but with more range- I was hooked from the first line.” — Robert Twigger, author of Red Nile and Walk
“Charming in the way of Coelho, Nightingale’s work is proof of a life lived with both ears open, one to the lives and stories around him and one to what readers want and need to hear.” —Tupelo Hassman, Author of Girl Child
“The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace, speaks to us about women in the “heartland of their labor” and in their empires of dreams and sorrows. These women are makers of lives and dreams who change the universe one day at a time for their children, their brothers, sisters and the men willing to work with them to make those changes. In these pages you can travel through time, to places around the world, as well as to the souls, minds and bodies of these women to uncover what you want to believe in, and yet to accept the idea that perhaps they may be “doing the right thing, the wrong way.” Steve Nightingale, has set music to the dance and it is impossible not to join these incredible voices of the stories in the eternal dreamy rhythm of life. He shows us “ an unabashed joy about what is possible in life”, if we walk side-by-side and listen carefully to the dreams offered by the women in these stories. A must read for the lovers of fascinating, magical story telling.”—Emma Sepulveda-Pulvirenti, author of Do You Hear My Accent When I Write? and Death to Silence