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Paperback An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field Book

ISBN: 0679752560

ISBN13: 9780679752561

An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field

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Book Overview

The acclaimed author of Refuge here weaves together a resonant and often rhapsodic manifesto on behalf of the landscapes she loves, combining the power of her observations in the field with her... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A taste of salt air and sage

This collection of essays about the soul and ecology of the Great Basin by a brilliant naturalist/essayist/memoirist wanders from Utah to Alaska, then Africa and the halls of Congress. Williams has a wild streak, a touch of dangerousness -- a dozen years after my first reading of the terse title piece involving an avocado, the imagery still evokes a squirm. While still in her thirties Williams became the matriarch of her family thanks in great measure to our ignorant dabbling with atomic weaponry. A death sentence is said to clear the mind, and nuclear "downwinder" status is surely one source of the clarity of vision here expressed. This woman's passion for the living desert, imbued with a scholarly naturalist's understanding, together with her respect for the wisdom and magic of our human and animal past emerges in a delicious mix of science and ghost dance. Part biography, part journal, part testimony, part eulogy -- a taste of salt air and sage which leaves this reader hungry for more. (See my reviews of Williams' REFUGE, Pantheon Books, 1991, and LEAP, Pantheon Books, 2000.)

The Erotics of Place

As the title of one of Terry Tempest Williams' essays states... this collection of immersions into spirit and place are "The Erotics of Place." That is, not just a bodily immersion into her subject, but one of totality. Williams accomplishes that sinking into her well-worded ideas that leaves only the tips of her hair floating on the surface, a faint rippling of the water where she stepped in, and nothing more - she is submerged. And that is a thing of quality. The essays in this short collection touch on lives of people as well as life force of place. Williams writes about Georgia O'Keefe in "In Cahoots with Coyote" with evident love for the woman, the artist, the landscape: "What O'Keefe saw was what O'Keefe felt - in her own bones. Her brush strokes remind us again and again, nothing is as it appears: roads that seem to stand in the air like charmed snakes; a pelvis bone that becomes a gateway to the sky; another that is rendered like an angel; and 'music translated into something for the eye.'" The essay concludes with Williams, O'Keefe, and coyotes in the canyons of southern Utah howling in harmony. Williams writes a eulogy for Edward Abbey, another spirit polished by desert sand. She sees Abbey as the leader of a growing Clan, a clan of human coyotes reclaiming their land, "...individuals who are quietly subversive on behalf of the land. And they are infiltrating our neighborhoods in the most respectable ways, with their long, bushy tails tucked discreetly inside their pants or beneath their skirts... not easily identified, but there are clues. You can see it in their eyes. They are joyful and they are fierce. They can cry louder and laugh harder than anyone on the planet..."This is that total immersion Williams renders so well. Her people essays blend seamlessly with her place essays; they are the same, as they should be, she reminds us, the same. "We call its name," she writes of the earth around her, "and the land calls back."Williams makes political statements in her work. It is her coyote howl to call together an awareness of the destruction of land all around us. She addresses nuclear testing not only as a naturalist, but as a woman born in a family riddled with breast and ovarian cancer. She addresses conservation as a necessity for continued life on earth, not merely as a question of quality of life. Her call is not militant - it is one of lyrical love for the preservation of the gift we have been given, the natural world that sustains us.

An Unspoken Hunger

Beautiful and lyrical. Terry has done it again.

Beautifully, powerfully written.

Terry Tempest Williams is a wonderful writer. All of her books are a delight. This book is a collection of several essays, each a jewel. When I read her writings I feel very connected to myself and to nature.

An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field Mentions in Our Blog

An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field in Get Lost in the Wild West
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Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 05, 2019

Celebrate Larry McMurtry's 83rd birthday this week with one of these rip-roaring Western adventure tales.

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