"Morning: bought a bag of frozen peas to numb my husband’s sore testicles after his vasectomy. Evening: added thawed peas to our carbonara." —from Heating & Cooling, "Married Love, IV"
The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating & Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys. Some pieces are wistful, some wry, and many reveal the humor buried in our everyday interactions. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments, and awakens us to these moments as they appear in the margins of our lives.
About the Author
Beth Ann Fennelly is the author of three poetry collections, Unmentionables, Tender Hooks, and Open House; two memoirs, Heating & Cooling and Great with Child; and a novel, The Tilted World, coauthored with her husband, Tom Franklin. She teaches at the University of Mississippi, and is also the state’s Poet Laureate. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Heating and Cooling contains essays that are sometimes as short as 10 words . . . but add up to a surprisingly maximalist portrait of a life.
— New York Times Book Review
The micro-memoirs showcase a range of emotions that belies their brevity—taken from another standpoint, their brevity is what gives them power.
— Wall Street Journal
Beth Ann Fennelly’s genre-defying collection is so engaging and readable that you won’t even notice how much you’re learning about confronting the hardest challenge we all share: being human. Wise, irreverent, funny. . . . Everyone should read this book.
— Atlanta Journal Constitution
Consistently entertaining. . . poised, eloquent, and full of moments of tenderness.
— Electric Literature
Varying in length from a single sentence to several pages, the essays in [Heating and Cooling] are told with wry self-awareness and compassion.
— Poets & Writers
This collection will invite you into the delicate balance between the challenging, sometimes squalid, human condition and the beauty and sadness of the transcendent.
— The Rumpus
Fennelly packs a lot into each short piece, with some lighter in subject matter and others with a sudden punch-in-the-gut feel, weighted with existential exploration. . . . Potent despite their brevity.
— Library Journal, starred
[Heating and Cooling] offer[s] insight into . . . the overall human condition. . . . A sleek, delightful collection.
Fennelly recounts episodes, events, or earned truths that, given her poignant reflection and graceful, often-funny telling, are sure to stop readers in their tracks. . . . This deceptively slim, convention-defying collection delivers unerringly generous rewards.
Imagine the hundred things you enjoy doing most in the world. Reading Beth Ann Fennelly’s Heating & Cooling is more fun than 95 of them.
— Richard Russo
Beth Ann Fennelly brings a poet’s sensibility to Heating & Cooling. Each entry is both insightful and precise, a perfect pearl of memory. By marking out these 52 moments, she draws a portrait of a life that is deeply felt and fully awake. I will be the first in line when there are 52 more.
— Ann Patchett