Imagination and the Loss of the Wild
By Ellen Meloy
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400031771, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 17, 2006
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Long believed to be disappearing and possibly even extinct, the Southwestern bighorn sheep of Utah’s canyonlands have made a surprising comeback. Naturalist Ellen Meloy tracks a band of these majestic creatures through backcountry hikes, downriver floats, and travels across the Southwest. Alone in the wilderness, Meloy chronicles her communion with the bighorns and laments the growing severance of man from nature, a severance that she feels has left us spiritually hungry. Wry, quirky and perceptive, Eating Stone is a brillant and wholly original tribute to the natural world.
A recipient of a Whiting Foundation Award in 1997, Ellen Meloy was a native of the West and lived in California, Montana, and Utah. Her previous book, The Anthropology of Turquoise, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the Utah Book Award. Meloy spent most of her life in wild, remote places; at the time of her sudden death in November 2004 she and her husband were living in southern Utah. In her honor, her friends and family founded The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers, which provides support to writers whose work reflects the spirit and passions of her work.
“Piercingly beautiful. . . . Its chapters map a vibrant, curious mind in love with the particulars of the Southwest landscape.” –The New York Times Book Review“One of our finest natural-history writers. . . . Her own knowledge of the natural world is deep, her prose breathtakingly beautiful and often startling.” –Annie Proulx, Globe & Mail“A major contribution to an understanding of the land. . . . Meloy’s genius seems evident on every page of this thoughtful, impressionistic book.”–Deseret News “One of the American West's greatest contemporary naturalists. . . . More than a mere adventure, Eating Stone concludes Meloy's love affair with the western desert and the wildlife it nourishes.”–Outside MagazineBeautiful. . . . Not since Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard has an author transported us so completely into the wilderness.”–The Plain Dealer