This week on Goodreads.com, we shared a review from our Nonfiction Editor, Julie Matsen.
The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument seems to be a forbidding place
for many, but Carol Ann Bassett invites readers to see the desert here as a
place of solitude and tranquil refuge. Here, Bassett introduces readers to the
monument’s rich history, from the centuries-old cacti to the prehistoric
Hohokam, from early twentieth century miners to post-9/11 Border Patrol agents.
Humans as characters are rare in this book; rather, the main soul we are
introduced to is the land itself, and the main action is a listless meditation
on finding self in the desert. She remarks in her final chapter, “We come
to the desert to understand things that are outside of ourselves, yet after a
while, we are forced to look inside, to find those precious sanctuaries that allow
us to be truly alive while truly alone.” Life in an environment like
Arizona has the tendency to make native readers like me take this desert
landscape for granted. Bassett is able to transfigure familiar landscapes into
an entity that is at once foreign and wondrous.
You can read Carol Ann Bassett’s Walking with Giants in s[r] Issue 4.