When British author Katherine May released her debut book, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, in 2020, the editors of BookPage became deeply obsessed. (Forming a cult was briefly discussed, but the thought was ultimately abandoned as cults require too much administrative work.) We knew right away that this was a book to return to year after year, a ritual to bring us comfort during the months when sunlight grows sparse and we need someone to remind us how to embrace the darkness.
Since then, readers the world over have been enchanted by May’s flowing, rhythmic writing, both in Wintering and in her follow-up book, The Electricity of Every Living Thing, about walking the southwestern coast of England as May reckoned with the realization that she is autistic. Her next book, Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age, is one of our most anticipated books of 2023, and this description from Riverhead will make it clear why:
Many of us feel trapped in a grind of constant change: rolling news cycles, the chatter of social media, our families split along partisan lines. We feel fearful and tired, on edge in our bodies, not quite knowing what has us perpetually depleted. For Katherine May, this low hum of fatigue and anxiety made her wonder what she was missing. Could there be a different way to relate to the world, one that would allow her feel more rested and at ease, even as seismic changes unfold on the planet? Might there be a way for all of us to move through life with curiosity and tenderness, sensitized to the subtle magic all around?
In Enchantment, May invites the reader to come with her on a journey to reawaken our innate sense of wonder and awe. With humor, candor, and warmth, she shares stories of her own struggles with work, family, and the aftereffects of pandemic, particularly the feelings of overwhelm as the world rushes to reopen. Craving a different way to live, May begins to explore the restorative properties of the natural world, moving through the elements of earth, water, fire, and air, and identifying the quiet traces of magic that can be found only when we look for them. Through deliberate attention and ritual, she unearths the potency and nourishment that come from quiet reconnection with our immediate environment. Blending lyricism and storytelling, sensitivity and empathy, Enchantment invites each of us to open the door to human experience in all its sensual complexity, and to find the beauty waiting for us there.
Here’s what the author had to say about why Enchantment is such an essential book for our times:
Enchantment will be available at your local bookstore or library on March 7, 2023, and you can preorder it here. Until then, feast your eyes on and whet your appetite with this beautiful cover.
Cover art by Lauren Peters-Collaer/Riverhead Books