She had always wanted to go to the Galápagos Islands, though she didn’t really know why. She couldn’t remember who lived there--turtles maybe or penguins. They were far out in the ocean and her daughter told her she would have to ride in a zodiac. That sounded fun but a little scary. Her heart was bad and her legs swelled. She had high blood pressure. She thought, though, that she’d leave it all up to Susanna who was a very clever girl. Her other daughters were clever too--a doctor and one who had married well for love. She knew Darwin had discovered what he later understood on the Galapagos. She was hoping at seventy that she could learn some new things too. She had been sad for so many years. What was a life like without sadness? She imagined the salty spray--Susanna told her that she’d have to put on a big suit to ride in the zodiac. She thought maybe the young man who drove would drive very fast and tilt the rubber boat up on its side to show off. She liked that idea.
Sharon was awarded the 2010 Calvino Prize for fiction by the University of Louisville.
"So I’d compare Sharon White’s second collection, Eve and Her Apple, to a flower opening, to a jewelry box. Such freshness and sweetness, such effortless storytelling, the unexpected, the miraculous, emerging. Folklore, voyage, memoir. I love the surprise, the journeying by such various routes, Finnmark, 19th century Lowell, Massachusetts, present day and historic west. How, with a reverence for natural and human history, White casts her spell and takes us where she is going."
— Elaine Terranova, author of Not To: New and Selected Poems
Vanished Gardens: Finding Nature in Philadelphia
”Vanished Gardens, like the gardens of Philadelphia it plots so brilliantly in its pages, presents itself as both highly formal and completely natural in its composition and its fruition...”
— Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone
“I know of no book about gardens that comes close to the beauty of Sharon White’s Vanished Gardens. Her lyrical prose moves effortlessly through the centuries, through the stories and histories of people and flowers, of rivers and plants. Stunning work.”
— Lisa Couturier, author of The Hopes of Snakes & Other Tales from the Urban Landscape
Islands (an excerpt from Boiling Lake, published in Salt Hill Journal, Issue 27, 2011)
“With mad singing in strange lands and familiar places, these tiny stories speak a language of dark lyricism. Unleashing the unconscious, White dares to venture through a tapestry of nightmare memories to illuminate strange moments of reality bordered by pure beauty. The book flies fast and free on the wings of words lit by the light on the moon.”
—Aimee Parkison, author, The Petals of Your Eyes
“Boiling Lake (On Voyage) is that place of in-betweens, mergings, undefinable spaces where the familiar rubs up against and engages the exotic and unknown: the so-called “human” world and the natural one; the America of strip malls and the America as it appears to a Mexican immigrant; a series of islands described from the viewpoint of voyagers across the temporal spectrum of history and the inhabitants of those islands; a woman’s body in a catalog of materialist and feminist protestations. These voyages are described in a series of blunt, uncompromising prose pieces, in search of an unknown destination, a “fertile country inhabited by sweet dispositioned savages who can be harnessed and used to good advantage.” The striking energy and territory of Boiling Lake (On Voyage) is a deeply conflicted cultural, metaphysical, and psycho-sexual space, a myriad, cubistic series of personae and forgotten voices that make our post-natural world both new again and hauntingly known.”
—Sam Witt, poet, Sunflower Brother and Everlasting Quail