Miracle Country: A Memoir

Algonquin. Jul. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781616209988. $368. MEMOIR
Atleework’s shimmering memoir is set in California’s Eastern Sierra, where water is never far from the minds of those living there. Fires, drought, and high winds are regular occurrences causing devastating losses that Atleework and her family experience firsthand. However, it was the loss of her mother that complicated Atleework’s relationship with the area and caused her to leave. Both memoir and memorial to place, this account has a haunting quality of sadness and loss, of well-watered land that could have been, and of family that might have been different. In her research of both the history of Owens Valley and Los Angeles, and the water rights that entangle them, Atleework traces the various indigenous peoples and settlers who called it home. However, more than a work of environmental change or history of place, this is a love letter of sorts to Atleework’s mother. Her presence is felt in every page, and it is in the pursuit of peace amid her loss that ultimately brings Atleework home.
VERDICT A bittersweet tribute to home and family in breathtaking prose that will appeal to lovers of memoirs and history, as well as anyone who enjoys beautifully crafted writing.
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