Monday, June 15, 2020

READ THIS BOOK: Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework is a gorgeously written memoir about family, land and what we can do when we lose both.

Kendra Atleework grew up in what might be the driest corner of California, but when her mother died of a rare disease, and drought and wildfires began to ravage her home, she left the land she loved, not returning until years later to make sense of it all. A gorgeously written memoir about the family and the land we love and lose and sometimes, if we are really lucky, find something of treasure in its place.

Kendra was born and raised on the dry edge of California at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. She moved away for eleven years, mostly spent being homesick and researching the place she left behind—the product of which is Miracle Country. She serves on the board of the Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers and lives in her hometown of Bishop, California.  

So I'm not the only one raving about this stunner from Algonquin Books. Just take a look at this praise:

"[A] shimmering memoir . . . A bittersweet tribute to home and family in breathtaking prose that will appeal to lovers of memoirs and history, as well as anyone who enjoys beautifully crafted writing."
Library Journal, starred review

"[A] beautiful debut . . . Atleework’s remarkable prose renders the ordinary wondrous and firmly puts this overlooked region of California onto the map."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] singular, sympathetic memoir of loss and belonging, set in a troubled state that still occupies so many people’s dreams."
Foreword Review, starred review

“Can a book be both radiant with light and shadowy as midnight? Miracle Country can. I felt the thrill I once knew reading Annie Dillard for the first time. Kendra Atleework can really write. She flies with burning wings."
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels

“Kendra Atleework has written the most beautiful book about California I ever have read.  The author locates the mystery and beauty of her life in the small town of Bishop, on the eastern slope of the Sierra, decades after Los Angeles has stolen the water.  Her poet's prose, on every page, honors the dry land and breathes Nature to life.”
—Richard Rodriguez, author of Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography

Miracle Country is truly some kind of miracle, combining a moving family story with deft, deeply researched history. Written from the crucible of California's water wars, combined with a family story of love and loss in the high desert Eastern Sierra Nevada, Kendra Atleework's book joins the great American accounts of the West, a step beyond Joan Didion, moving from a beloved geography into a jeopardized future.  Kendra Atleework is that rare writer—capable of heart-stopping memoir while performing a work of keen observation and serious history. A work of stunning acuity and candor, essential reading, already a classic narrative.”
Patricia Hampl, author of The Art of the Wasted Day

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