Strangers Drowning: Voyages to the Brink of Moral Extremity (Hardback)
  • Strangers Drowning: Voyages to the Brink of Moral Extremity (Hardback)
zoom

Strangers Drowning: Voyages to the Brink of Moral Extremity (Hardback)

(author)
£20.00
Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 29/09/2015
  • In stock online
  • Free UK delivery

Usually despatched within 24 hours

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect
SUNDAY TIMES and GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015 What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment, and tells their intimate stories: their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their wrenching dilemmas. A couple adopts two children in distress. But then they think: if they can change two lives, why not four? Or ten? They adopt twenty. But how do they weigh the needs of unknown children in distress against the needs of the children they already have? Another couple founds a leprosy colony in the wilderness in India, living in huts with no walls, knowing that their two small children may contract leprosy or be eaten by panthers. The children survive. But what if they hadn't? How would their parents' risk have been judged? We honour such generosity and high ideals; but when we call people 'do-gooders' there is scepticism in it, even hostility. Why do moral people make us uneasy? Between her stories, MacFarquhar threads a lively history of the novels, philosophy, social science, and self-help that have contributed to a deep suspicion of do-gooders in Western culture. Through its sympathetic and beautifully vivid storytelling, Strangers Drowning confronts us with fundamental questions about what it means to be human. In a world of strangers drowning in need, how much should we help, and how much can we help? Is it right to care for strangers even at the expense of those we are closest to? Moving and provocative, Strangers Drowning challenges us to think about what we value most, and why.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781846143984
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 580 g
Dimensions: 241 x 161 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
For Christmas, I'd be overjoyed to receive a copy of Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar -- Curtis Sittenfeld, Books of the Year * Guardian *
Beautifully written, MacFarquhar's book digs deep into the awkward questions raised by ultra-morality, yet keeps a light touch -- Books of the Year * Sunday Times *
Superb... The author's tone throughout Strangers Drowning is that of a serious and wide-awake novelist... If her book does not provoke and unsettle you, you may not have a pulse * New York Times *
Chilling and utterly absorbing... Combining critical analysis with compassion, the book's treatment is reminiscent of Oliver Sacks, who explored the more extraordinary aspects of ordinary lives -- Frances Wilson * Daily Telegraph *
Strangers Drowning is a book written in a deceptively simple and clear voice about people, about how morality lodges itself in a person not as an abstract idea, or even a value, but as a direction for life... Impressive * Financial Times *
Larissa MacFarquhar's facinating encounters with the relentless logic of extreme do-gooders pose important questions for all of us * Observer *
MacFarquhar writes beautifully and makes us think intensely about the tormenting question of how to balance inequality and injustice against privilege... * Sunday Times *
Narrated with such even-handed curiosity, such compassion for human endeavour and forgiveness of fallibility, that you cannot help but share MacFarquhar's admiration and see that these predicaments matter * Spectator *
Excellent... The strength of this insightful and grown-up book is to leave the discomfort in place without succumbing to a new sentimentality or absolutism -- Rowan Williams * Literary Review *
Profound, absorbing, and utterly brilliant. The stories unfold like parables. Larissa MacFarquhar shows us people who are devoted to simply trying to do the most good they can in their lives. And in the process she gets us to think about some of mankind's deepest, most ancient questions-like how you should live and what life is for. It is a work of philosophy, journalism, and beautiful storytelling all in one. Read this book -- Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal
Daringly conceived, brilliantly executed - may change not just how you see the world, but how you live in it -- Katherine Boo, author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Inspiring yet deeply unsettling... These arresting anecdotes from the shadowland between altruism and masochism are told in glowing, evocative prose and with polemical urgency. Few books throw one's personal moral universe into question, but this one does, and it does so powerfully and monumentally and with a near infinity of nuance and compassion -- Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
Strangers Drowning is a beautiful, unique book, full of astonishing and sometimes wild tales of extraordinary altruism. MacFarquhar avoids sentimentality or simple lessons. She shows; she doesn't tell. Prepare for prose that's often like poetry -- and for some remarkable portraits of the human spirit -- Cass R. Sunstein, co-author of Nudge
With the inquisitive mind of a philosopher, the observant eye of a reporter, and the ability to write like the finest novelist, Larissa MacFarquhar has created an extraordinary work of nonfiction. Strangers Drowning helps us to understand not only what it means to be good but also human. A profound and deeply original book, Strangers Drowning will hold you in its grip and not let you go -- David Grann, author of The Devil and Sherlock Holmes and The Lost City of Z
Larissa MacFarquhar has composed a compelling, lyrical saga of the saintly types who inspire both awe and puzzlement. These fascinating stories and Larissa MacFarquhar's own wise, funny meditations force you to inquire into your own sense of charity (or lack thereof). Easily the best book on both prescriptive and applied ethics I've read in a decade - mandatory reading for the examined life -- Mary Karr, author of Lit and The Liar's Club
Fascinating and terrifying portraits of saints and ministers of grace * Kirkus *
Gripping... A scrupulous study of people selflessly devoted to helping others... Engrossing and thought provoking * Publishers Weekly *
In a series of sensitive case studies, acclaimed journalist MacFarquhar examines lives of the full-time do-gooders who give it their all and then some... MacFarquhar's book is a careful meditation on what it means to fully commit to moral living-and whether the all-out commitments of this kind are, in the grand scheme of things, worth it * Los Angeles Magazine *
Gripping... The aim of the book is neither to urge readers to change their lives nor to suggest that do-gooders are deluded. Instead, MacFarquhar draws attention to a fact of life that we often prefer to sweep under the psychological rug: sometimes we prioritize our moral duty to others, and sometimes we prioritize ourselves. Everyone draws that jagged line somewhere * Pacific Standard *

You may also be interested in...

Meditations
Added to basket
£4.99
Paperback
Enlightenment Now
Added to basket
£25.00
Hardback
The Road Less Travelled
Added to basket
Happy
Added to basket
£8.99
Paperback
The Tipping Point
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Art of Logic
Added to basket
£14.99
Hardback
Poverty Safari
Added to basket
£7.99   £6.99
Paperback
The Daily Stoic
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Righteous Mind
Added to basket
On the Shortness of Life
Added to basket
£4.99
Paperback
Skin in the Game
Added to basket
The Order of Time
Added to basket
£12.99
Hardback
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful
Added to basket
Ikigai
Added to basket
£12.99   £9.99
Hardback
Back to Black
Added to basket
£16.99
Hardback

Reviews

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.