From the American Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams comes a timeless, intoxicating collection of evocative stories. In these exquisite tales, an explorer goes mad when faced with the disappearance of a river; blue herons descend upon Manhattan; a lonely desert hermit clears a path for a secret celestial wind; and more.
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If science seeks to demystify life, literature can restore a needed measure of wonder to it. Or, as one of the characters in Barry Lopez's collection of short stories Winter Count puts it, "If you are careful, I think there is probably nothing that cannot be retrieved."
Much indeed is retrieved in Lopez's pages, first published in 1981: lost species, lost memories, lost emotions. In one especially Borgesian story, a university professor seeks to puzzle out the facts behind 19th-century reports of a herd of white buffalo that, singing, pointed a way into heaven. In another, a young man catches a glimpse into the workings of the stars and planets in an unlikely corner of the Arizona desert. In still another, a traveler recapitulates the pain of lost love while contemplating the graceful flight of herons.
Lopez's marvelous stories are about many things. Underlying them is a shared precision of language and vision, a precision that characterizes the author's works of nonfiction (Of Wolves and Men, Arctic Dreams). Behind Lopez's stories as well is a quiet insistence on the centrality of nature--an awareness of which, he suggests, can make the busiest city livable, and the deepest wounds of the heart bearable. --Gregory McNameeFrom the Inside Flap:
"Perfectly crafted. . . . [These] stories expand of their own accord, lingering in the mind the way intense light lingers in the retina." --"Los Angeles Times
"Animals and landscapes have not had this weight, this precision, in American fiction since Hemingway's young heroes were fishing the streams of upper Michigan and Spain." --"San Francisco Chronicle
Aflock of great blue herons descending through a snowstorm to the streets of New York. . . . A river in Nebraska disappearing mysteri-ously. . . . A ghostly herd of buffalo that sings a song of death. . . . A mystic who raises constellations of stones from the desert floor. . . . All these are to be found in Winter Count, the exquisite and rapturous collection by the National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams.
In these resonant and unpredictable stories Barry Lopez proves that he is one of the most important and original writers at work in America today. With breathtaking skill and a few deft strokes he produces painfully beautiful scenes. Combining the real with the wondrous, he offers us a pure vision of people alive to the immediacy and spiritual truth of nature.
"Powerful. . . . [Lopez] can steal your breath away." --"Minneapolis Tribune
"Richly allusive, moving, compassionate, these stories celebrate the web of nature that holds the world together."
--"The Philadelphia Inquirer
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