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"A Slender Thread,"5) by Diane Ackerman. Random...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

"A Slender Thread,"

5) by Diane Ackerman. Random House. $24. Poet-essayist Diane Ackerman's newest book is a quirky but interesting combination of elements: the habits of ground squirrels in her back yard juxtaposed against her accounts of manning a crisis line at a suicide-prevention center.

Dropped throughout the book are kernels of wisdom that illustrate the author's familiarity with everything from science to literature, psychology and history. To compare the lives of these furry, nut-gobbling lightweights to suicidal people in deep emotional pain seems a stretch at times, but Ackerman is a skilled enough writer to interweave many facets of life into a book that is lushly narrative and metaphorical.

Pub Date: 2/09/97

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