Maze: A Desert Journeyby Lucy Rees
With these words, Lucy Rees invites the reader to saddle up and travel with her across the
"Northern Arizona is vast and beautiful. Horizons are huge, for the dry air is so clear you can often see for eighty or a hundred miles. Mountains we would think to walk over in a day may be three days' hard ride away. There is space between each tuft of grass or cactus."
With these words, Lucy Rees invites the reader to saddle up and travel with her across the desert to the Hopi Indian mesas. There, she and a companion are searching for an ancient stone carving similar to one in Cornwall, near their native Wales, that has long fascinated them. The intricate design of the stone, spiraling inward and then turning outward again, becomes a purpose for their trek as well as a metaphor for the journey itself. Humorous and wise, this book is both a bold adventure on horseback and a moving account of personal tragedy, courage, and hope.
"Rees' intrepid wilderness journey becomes an enlightening spiritual quest. The Maze is a must for nature readers."--Anne LaBastille, author of Woodswoman
"Rees writes ravishingly of man's relationship with the natural world. . . . On one level, [it] is a travel book for horse lovers; but it is also, marvelously, a book about contemplation and the ability of some travellers to connect truly with the land."--The Times, London
Lucy Rees is the author of The Horse's Mind and other works, both fiction and nonfiction. When not traveling, she lives in Wales.
She and her friend Rick, both Welsh, determine to come to America, buy two horses, and ride through Arizona in search of a particular stone carving of a maze that is found in both Cornwall and Hopi territory. The horses they buy, Rosie and Duchess, had been spoiled and then dumped by former owners, and were literally on the way to the glue factory before Rees found them. The narrative is at its strongest when it focuses on these animals: They gradually accept training, and the mutual trust that develops between rider and horse is fascinating and frequently quite moving. Their journey is much harder than expected, and as the relationship between beast and human is strengthened, that between Rick and the author loses its center. The story becomes unexpectedly painful when Rees recounts past loves now lost. She seems to find herself stuck in an emotional equivalent of the maze she and Rick seek. After an awkward few days, the two travel on to the Hopi reservation where they want to study more closely the stone carving that links their country to America. The reservation, unfortunately, exposes a slightly maudlin edge to Rees's writing, and the history and importance of the carving are lost in a torrent of platitudes à la Dances with Wolves. The end of the story is a muddled rush that stands in sharp contrast to her earlier clear prose style.
While it relies too heavily on a vague, New Age mysticism, this slender book is nonetheless an engaging and unique travelogue.
- University of Arizona Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.55(w) x 8.55(h) x 0.43(d)
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