Book Review: Ash Davidson’s DAMNATION SPRING

Living in Southern Oregon, not far north of where Ash Davidson’s Damnation Spring is set, I’ve grown used to passing trucks that are overloaded with timber, and mountainsides bare from clear-cuts. Knowing that this novel is about logging redwoods in the late 1970s, I wasn’t sure how biased I might be, as an reader who is decidedly …

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Book Review: MIGRATIONS by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations is a stunningly beautiful novel about a woman who has always been running—from her childhood, her mistakes, her memories—and this time, she’s traveling from Greenland to Antarctica, following the world’s last flock of Arctic terns on their final migration.  As the novel opens, Franny Stone approaches the captain of the only boat who might …

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Book Review: Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America, co-edited by Stefanie Brook Trout and Taylor Brorby

Reviewed by Lucia Hadella in partnership with Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project and Environmental Arts and Humanities program. How does one go about telling the story of hydraulic fracturing in the United States in a way that illuminates its repercussions for humans and nonhumans? Through poetry? A short story? An essay? Does one travel to …

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Book Review: Fragment

You may have read that in mid-July a massive iceberg broke off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. Measuring about 2,000 square miles—nearly the size of Delaware—it is one of the largest icebergs ever to calve from the ice shelves ringing the continent. Scientists expect that it will eventually fracture, with some pieces remaining in …

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Book Review: South Pole Station

Ashley Shelby’s debut novel, South Pole Station, takes readers to the bottom of the earth for a wry, multi-layered story that tightly packs art, science, polar history, climate change, politics, humor, and human relationships into a vivid tale of courage and redemption. The novel’s central character is thirty-year-old Cooper Gosling, whose life has hit its …

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Book Review: Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

Alexis M. Smith’s lovely novel Marrow Island envisions environmental catastrophe on several levels, beginning with a devastating earthquake and the subsequent oil refinery accident whose effects, even though these events are backstory, linger on every page. The novel begins with a mysterious opening chapter, in which Lucie Bowen, twenty years after the earthquake, is again fleeing the …

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Book Review: Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley by Ann Pancake

Ann Pancake’s new story collection, Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, brings readers to the West Virginia territory of her extraordinary novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been. In these novellas and stories, the ravaged West Virginia landscape is such a deeply ingrained part of these characters’ lives that those who move away …

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Book Review: Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir

Sharona Muir’s Invisible Beasts is an absolute delight, and not only for animal lovers. This smart, whimsical novel takes readers not only into a world of “invisible beasts” but into the mind of a charmingly quirky character. The novel is written in a nonfiction style, as a personal bestiary by a woman with a genetic …

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The Necessary Evolution of Environmental Writing

Halfway through reading The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston, I came across the following passage: A new danger, moreover, now threatens the birds at sea. An irreducible residue of crude oil, called by refiners ‘slop,’ remains in stills after oil distribution, and this is …

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