Riverhead Books, 190 pages
To put it mildly, mercy is in short supply these days. Children flee their homes with no place to go and wash up on shores. Some are shocked, others are too busy to notice and there are those who scoff at pleas for compassion. Mercy is a venerable word and a practice embedded in the Bible. But it seems to have been forgotten in these days of white-hot politics and violent attacks. Fortunately, Anne Lamott is rediscovering mercy.
This collection of essays may be her finest. Without wavering from her search to find mercy, she tells stories, filled with her characteristic honest wit, that illuminate the clues of its presence. They amount to an invitation — a hopeful summons to pay close attention to acts of mercy. Lamott has taken seriously the prophet Micah whose words became for her a new call. What might it mean to love mercy? She goes in search of that question and the result is this book. She writes: “The world keeps going on. You can have yet another cup of coffee and keep working on your plans. Or you can take the risk to be changed, surrounded, indwelled by this strange, yeasty mash called mercy.” The world may be merciless these days. Yet the summons remains to love mercy and practice it with one another.