An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Book - 1991
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In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation,Refugetransforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [1991]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©1991
ISBN: 9780679405160
Characteristics: xiii, 304 pages : map ; 22 cm


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Mar 18, 2016

It's hard to classify this wide-ranging book. Williams moves between her mother and grandmother's deaths to cancer, the aboveground nuclear testing during the WW II and Cold War years, her Mormon roots, her love for the desert, and the natural disaster of the rise in the level of the Great Salt Lake which devastates the wildlife refuge where she works and the animals it shelters. That she can move from subject to subject without any sense of jarring is a tribute to her beautiful writing and her own sense of the interconnectedness of all things. Highly recommended.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 18, 2014

Terry Tempest Williams, a naturalist who lives and works near the Great Salt Lake in Utah, analyses and interweaves the themes in her life: her relationship with nature, her Mormon roots, and the trauma she experienced at losing her mother and grandmother to cancer.


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