We live in a world that abounds with all manner of material things. Unfortunately, while the most lovingly crafted objects are still esteemed and cherished — the original canvas, the handbound volume — materiality has often been disparaged because of its association with less lovely things, and an anti-sensual suspicion of the physical has elevated the value of the spiritual. But what if the distinction between materiality and spirituality were not so absolute? Could we look anew at the world around us and find it opening onto infinite others?
In her mind-bending essay collection Portals, Genese Grill asks us to reappraise our habits of apprehending material and spiritual experiences. Blending the arch with the esoteric, the wicked with the arcane, she shows us how everything available to our senses can be a spur towards another way of being: a stimulus for sensation, contemplation, reverie. The result is an experience of reading that itself feels like a plunge into a portal — downward through a dizzying whirl of provocations and ecstasies, headlong into a flurry of pages that will stir your soul.