This is a brilliantly written collection of essays by a New York writer who explores the alternating currents of friendship and loneliness in her life. The opening piece on street theater perfectly conveys the rush and the pulse of urban living. Gornick seems to thrive on this energy. She also writes convincingly about the emptiness and pressures of living alone. The most unusual essay revolves around her desperate attempt to gain center stage in a friendship with a successful woman writer. Gornick's need for good conversation leads her out on a limb while teaching writing at a snobbish California university. "Approaching Eye Level" is a powerful example of the spiritual practice of yearning — where individuals desire to intimately connect with others in order to deepen and enrich the meaning in their lives.