Birds of Sorrow: Notes from a River Junction in Northern New Mexico

Tom Ireland, Author, Angie Coleman, Illustrator Zephyr Press (AZ) $12.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-939010-19-6
During the '70s, the author, originally from the East Coast, settled down with his family on a plot of land called La Junta at the junction of two rivers in the isolated community of La Madera, N.M., 50 miles north of Santa Fe. In a lively, informal fashion, Ireland ( Mostly Mules ) regales readers with tales of the eccentricities of the region's natives; of trying to make ends meet by working at a cement-block plant; of the travails of building a house and digging a well; and of time spent immersed in nature raising sheep, obsessing over the significance of ravens and domesticating a magpie. Ireland has an sharp eye for nuance, whether he's describing the disease infecting his beloved willow trees--``those wormy bumps, or blisters, as if a great, sudden heat had passed, searing the bark of the willows and raising multitudes of tiny welts''--or washing his daughter's hair--``How she screams and hollers! How sweet and clean and obedient she is when it's done! Saying, in these very words, `I'll do anything you tell me to do.' '' This collection offers a refreshing account of Ireland's experience in the American West, one whose appeal is delightfully idiosyncratic and universally human. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Hardcover - 231 pages - 978-0-939010-20-2
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