Where rivers change direction /
Mark Spragg.
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, c1999.
267 p. ; 23 cm.
0874806178 (acid-free paper)
More Details
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, c1999.
0874806178 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Spur Awards, USA, 2000 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2000-01-01:
Spragg's first book is about growing up on the country's oldest dude ranch--and much more. A rare accomplishment in "sense of place" literature, this deftly evokes life in the wide-open of Wyoming's Continental Divide. In each of these 14 essays, his direct, spacious, tangible prose vibrates with the fragile crisis and joy of a man face to face with nature and himself. (LJ 10/15/99) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1999-09-13:
Wyoming, land of wind and dust, of suicides, loneliness and fierce lovemaking, of uninterrupted vistas stretching 20 miles in every direction, of hard-drinking men and fighting women, forms the backdrop to Spragg's brave and beautiful coming-of-age memoir. Readers expecting a quaint, picturesque yarn will find instead an elemental, powerful confrontation with the naked realities of living and dying. Growing up on the high Yellowstone Plateau on the state's oldest dude ranch, a family business dating back to 1898, Spragg wrangles horses for his taciturn father, trying to win his respect and approval. At age 14, Spragg shoots and mercy-kills his beloved, aged, sickly steed, whose corpse will be used as bait for bears targeted by human hunters. The teenage Spragg joins his father on hunts, an experience he recalls ruefully (he no longer hunts, he reports, and became a vegetarian for five years). With self-deprecating wryness, the author, a screenwriter and essayist, re-creates adolescent crushes and hijinx. From quotidian eventsÄcommuning with horses, attending a livestock auctionÄhe fashions existential encounters with nature, self, fear, death, God. Composed in clean, crisp prose, his loping narrative is peopled with memorable characters, like his 40-ish mentor and bunkmate, John, a smiling, battle-scarred WWII veteran, or the mediumistic Greenwich Village waiter from India who tells Spragg, then 27, about his dead infant sister, reducing him to tears. Encompassing his marriage, divorce and remarriage, the book closes with Spragg's almost unbearably poignant account of caring for his mother, dying of emphysema and housebound on an oxygen inhalator. A piercing voice from the heartland, this resonant autobiography weds the venerable Western tradition of frontier exploration of self and nature with the masculine school of writing stretching from Hemingway to Mailer. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, September 1999
Library Journal, October 1999
Reference & Research Book News, November 1999
Library Journal, January 2000
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