Friday, December 30, 2011


Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and PlaceRefuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a naturalist, Terry Tempest Williams takes a special interest in the birds that live and migrate seasonally in the area of The Great Salt Lake. In 1983, she learns that her mother, already a breast cancer survivor, was dying from colon cancer. It is during this same season that the birds' refuge becomes threatened by rising water levels. Terry beautifully weaves these two events into a memoir that is richly descriptive and quite emotional.

I loved how each chapter focuses on a specific type of bird. Either Terry describes that bird and it's habitat or characteristics, or she relates it to something specific happening in her life. I went to college in Utah, so I enjoyed reading this book set in an area familiar to me. And yet the way this book was written, I also felt I was able to see it through new eyes.

The way Williams chooses to live and express her feelings about the Mormon faith made me a little uncomfortable. But I was so intrigued by this author that I even did some further reading online to get a sense of what she has done since this book was published in 1994. Williams definitely has a great passion for those she loves and for her life's work.

Source: BookMooch


alisonwonderland said...

I read this right after it was published, but I still remember how beautifully it was written and how hard it was for me to put it down. One of these days, I'll have to re-read it.

Corinne said...

It gave me a lot to think about and I followed up after reading too :) Glad you liked it!