The beloved author of Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams is one of the country’s most eloquent and imaginative writers. The desert is her blood. In this potent collage of stories, essays, and testimony, Red makes a stirring case for the preservation of America’s Redrock Wilderness in the canyon country of southern Utah.
As passionate as she is persuasive, Williams writes lyrically about the desert’s power and vulnerability, describing wonders that range from an ancient Puebloan sash of macaw feathers found in Canyonlands National Park to the desert tortoise–an animal that can “teach us the slow art of revolutionary patience” as it extends our notion of kinship with all life. She examines the civil war being waged in the West today over public and private uses of land–an issue that divides even her own family. With grace, humor, and compassionate intelligence, Williams reminds us that the preservation of wildness is not simply a political process but a spiritual one.
“Lush elegies to the wilderness. . . . Earthy, spiritual, evocative.” —The Boston Globe
“Erotic, scientific, literary. . . . Her intimacy with this landscape is complex and passionate.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Her finest writing . . . Use[s] pure language in the face of laws that need to be changed and lawmakers and citizens who need to understand that there is another way to see.” —Portland Oregonian
As a lifelong desert dweller, Terry Tempest Williams is intimately familiar with the multiple shades of red, and she explores many of them, among other things, in this tribute to the desert and canyon country of southern Utah that she holds so dear. In this collection of essays, poems, congressional testimony, and journal entries (some previously published), she ruminates on the meaning of wilderness and the need to preserve it as a way to save ourselves as much as the land itself. In Red
, she lends an elegant and passionate voice to the growing "Coyote Clan" in southern Utah--"hundreds, maybe even thousands, of individuals who are quietly subversive on behalf of the land"--along with the many others ideologically in step with this movement. She also discusses those deeply resentful of active environmentalists as well as those seething at the U.S. government for the way it manages millions of acres of western land, writing that "Federal control in the American West remains an open wound." Some of these contrary voices even come from within her own clan, a reality she describes in an essay in which she gently debates the merits of the Endangered Species Act with her father and other family members who own and operate a construction company in Utah.
A beloved nature writer and environmental voice, Williams writes emotionally and even erotically of her relationship with the red-rock landscape surrounding her home outside Moab, closely analyzing the wildlife, human characters, and Anasazi petroglyphs of this magical, arid region. --Shawn Carkonen