Halflives, C

Brooke Williams, Author Island Press $30 (204p) ISBN 978-1-55963-577-6
In a compact yet breathtaking treatise, Williams relates his attempts to narrow the ever-widening gap between ""nature and culture, wildness and work,"" between what he calls the ""halflives"" struggling within him. His story complements that of his wife, Terry Tempest Williams (Refuge), who has written of her Mormon background and love of nature, but it is also a deeply satisfying account of a man coming to terms with himself. Williams recounts what it was like to grow up in a Mormon community and to prepare for his ""mission,"" although by the time he was an adolescent, Williams harbored doubts about much of the Mormon dogma. Even the threat of Vietnam could not make him choose ""two years in a tie"" teaching something he didn't fully believe. His next great dilemma was whether to join the family business selling toilets and other plumbing items, as his father expected. He did, but only long enough to pit this halflife against the one he longed for, in the wild. Always finding his authentic inner self in the outdoors, Williams powerfully represents his sense of the mystery and resolution in nature. On a pilgrimage to Canyonlands National Park to see an immense panel of rock art painted by a nomadic people 2000 years ago, he and Terry feel as though they have become ""part of someone else's dream."" When they return home, they find that in the guest room of their house hangs a photograph of the haunting red figure they had stared at for 20 minutes that afternoon, which they had never before completely seen. Moving between art and life in an eloquent reflection on searching and choosing, Williams conveys the mindfulness that, on good days, makes his halflives into ""two halves of one."" (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 197 pages - 978-1-55566-288-2
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