Last Cheater's Waltz

Ellen Meloy, Author Henry Holt & Company $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4065-4
The latest offering by the author of Raven's Exile: A Season on the Green River, winner of a Spur Award, is an eloquent account of the travels she embarked on throughout the 200 square miles surrounding her remote southeastern Utah home on the Colorado Plateau. While an implicit environmentalist argument informs the book, Meloy's tone is more elegiac than polemical, her stance more subjective than political. She felt driven to explore what she calls ""a map of the known universe"" because of a persistent feeling of alienation from the breathtaking scenery surrounding her. Her explorations took her to Los Alamos and to the Trinity National Historic Landmark in New Mexico, site of the first A-bomb test, where Meloy contrasts the stark beauty of the area with the test's cost to vegetation and animal life. She also meditates on the irony that current wildlife recovery programs are managed by the military at White Sands Missile Range. Meloy's sadness and anger over human predations on the landscape are heartfelt and moving. Musing on the technological and chemical penetration of the desert, she writes: ""With consequences we likely underestimate, nature will take these intrusions into its own silent chemistry."" (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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FORMATS
Paperback - 225 pages - 978-0-8165-2153-1
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4668-7696-5
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