Songs of the Fluteplayer: Seasons of Life in the Southwest

Sharman Apt Russell, Author
Sharman Apt Russell, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $18.9 (160p) ISBN 978-0-201-57093-9
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999
Release date: 10/01/1999
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-201-60821-2
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Russell, who teaches writing at Western New Mexico University, here recounts her life in southwest New Mexico's Mimbres Valley, where she and her husband moved in 1981. While writing of the men and women who run modern-day trading posts and of the wars between ranchers and environmentalists in the Gila National Forest, she explores her desire for self-sufficiency and freedom from convention--ideals she finds symbolized by a mythical, prehistoric flute player whose humpbacked image adorns pottery and rock walls throughout the American Southwest. We see the couple build their own adobe house, learn to irrigate their land, grow their own food, and Russell give birth to her children at home. But the family soon begins to compromise: they hire illegal aliens to finish the house, they give up the garden, they install a flush toilet. Modest in scope, these essays say much about the difficulty of maintaining an alternate lifestyle. (June)
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