Areas of Fog

All the weathermen of New England go mad eventually. After a few decades spent attempting to predict the unpredictable, they succumb to a kind of meteorological nihilism and wander out of the studio mid-broadcast, muttering to themselves, and can be seen a week later selling wilted roses on the side of the highway...




A few years ago, I suffered a severe bout of writer’s block. In desperation, I resorted to New England’s defining regional habit—talking about the weather.

The result is Areas of Fog, a collection of short essays that will appeal to lovers of literary history, to connoisseurs of summer lightning storms, and to anyone who’s ever had slush sprayed in their face by a passing school bus.

It’s a book that WBUR’s Radio Boston calls “an absolutely beautiful read.”







“The essays are deep, moving and penetrating, and yet it’s still a fun read at the same time. It’s a great book.”

—Scott Jones, Give and Take

“[A]n original, highly enjoyable book to be read in all sorts of weather. Buy two copies and give one to a friend.”

—Cease, Cows

“Everybody talks about the weather...but nobody writes about it more lyrically than Will Dowd in Areas of Fog, his wonderful new book of essays about weather—and everything else.”

—Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus

“Will Dowd's soulful, precise essays on weather and related subjects--literature, New England, human frailty, joy--are a string of expertly cut and polished gems.  Bittersweetly funny and wise, deeply felt without ever lapsing into sentimentality, they're full of surprises and phrases so well turned that you'll want to read them aloud to somebody.”

—Carlo Rotella, Playing in Time: Essays, Profiles, and Other True Stories


"A lyrical meditation on literature, history and the weather quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. Will Dowd has a gift for subtle observation and the book is richly evocative and nuanced — his intelligence, wit and warmth make for good company in a cold season.” 

—Deborah Landau, The Uses of the Body


“William Dowd’s reflections on the seasons dance to a poetic rhythm, accented with sly, humorous tones.  Whether you’re reading with a hot toddy in winter or with a cold brew under the summer sun, get ready to be enchanted by his sparkling prose.” 

―Marcia Bartusiak, author of Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony and The Day We Found the Universe


“I love this book: Once I started it I couldn't put it down. Will Dowd guides us through the seasons, describing with a mastery of language what no weatherman I know even comes close to describing. Here in these pages we can delight in the sea-changing weather of a mind ranging from the autobiographical to a kaleidoscope of literary allusions which—far from dragging us down—lift us with the flair and insight only a poet can offer us.” 

—Paul Mariani, The Whole Harmonium and Epitaphs for the Journey


"[I]n the hands of Will Dowd, author of the new book Areas of Fog, the weather becomes a springboard for a charming mix of reflections, observations, and stories. Dowd’s project—keeping a weather journal for the length of one year—has produced an original, highly enjoyable book to be read in all sorts of weather. Buy two copies and give one to a friend." 

Cease, Cows


"Weather is huge in these parts, and Dowd, with humor and eloquence, takes the constant conversation about it to a new altitude."

—My Generation


"Like so many writer’s journals, this book is interesting on two levels, both as a text the thread of which we, as readers, can follow, listening to the increasingly familiar voice, and as a record of and template for an experiment, a discipline for seeing and thinking, weather as mirror and lens."

—Spencer Dew, DecomP Magazine


"Will’s book is a foray. Into weather. Into history. Into personal revelation, humor, spice. It’s a map of days and the map is storm and clouds and sun. It’s wherever Will’s thoughts take him as the temperature rises and falls."

—Beth Kephart, Juncture

“Dowd draws from anecdotes, letters, poetry, and quotes from various artists and writers who’ve lived in or, at least, visited New England….It’s stories like that make this book a fun read.”