Skywater

Skywater

5.0 2
by Melinda Worth Popham
     
 

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"Brand X and his fellow coyotes…are meticulously observed in the desert environment that Ms. Popham seems to know like her backyard. And so are the people of this fable—old Hallie and Albert…and the several varmint-hunters, callous or alcoholic or both. There is a parable of how we might relate to the creatures that share the world with us; and a

Overview

"Brand X and his fellow coyotes…are meticulously observed in the desert environment that Ms. Popham seems to know like her backyard. And so are the people of this fable—old Hallie and Albert…and the several varmint-hunters, callous or alcoholic or both. There is a parable of how we might relate to the creatures that share the world with us; and a parable of dreams versus realty; and a parable of home, of known territory with its comparative safety; and a parable of making the best of a world short of everything. The people and the creatures of Ms. Popham’s fable are right, they belong, and they mean.”
—Wallace Stegner

“This spare and affecting novel has the precision and the stinging sweetness of a fable. A wonderful book.”
—Thomas McGuane

“Refreshing…life-affirming…the first book I’ve read in a long time that left me with teary eyes at the end.”
—The San Diego Tribune

“Captivating…The animals’ arduous westward journey down the Colorado River to the Gulf suggests a coyote world view that is subtly sustained by their mysterious ways.”
—Publishers Weekly

“With dramatic urgency and imaginative tenderness, Melinda Popham has given the world a painful, poetic, and delightfully unpredictable story that pulsates with hope and healing meaning.”
—Al Young, California Poet Laureate Emeritus

“Rich with poetic resonance.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Evoking a rich sense of place and animal behavior, [Popham] lets us see through very different eyes.”
—The Seattle Times

“A daring and visionary tale. [Popham] dares to tell us what a coyote thinks and sees and feels and dreams…A hero of the classic kind—a furry, howling, water-seeking version of the Hero with a Thousand Faces.”
—James D. Houston

“Masterful…Astonishing…Remarkable…Put down the latest technothriller and bask awhile in the descriptive prose of Skywater.”
—L.A. Life

Editorial Reviews

Seattle Times
Evoking a rich sense of place and animal behavior, (Popham) lets us see through very different eyes.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A band of coyotes in the southwestern Sonora desert are an important part of the life of the Ryders, a crusty old couple who have lived simply in the desert for more than 40 years. In this captivating exploration of coyote life by an author obviously well-researched in their ways, the characters--human and animal--interact in a credible, unsentimental narrative that portrays the delicate peril of our ecological systems. In an appropriately spare, ascetic style, we encounter the Ryders, self-made isolates nearing the close of their long escape from civilization in the desert. The coyotes, who share the Ryders' drinking water until it becomes tainted by a nearby copper mine, are forced to embark upon a search for a fresh supply. The animals' arduous westward journey down the Colorado River to the Gulf suggests a coyote world view that is subtly sustained by their mysterious ways. (May)
Library Journal
Popham's second novel examines that much misunderstood breed, the coyote, and its desolate yet enchanting habitat. After the water sources in their home terrain have become contaminated, a motley crew of coyotes led by ``Brand X'' journey to find Skywater (the ocean), only to discover that it is undrinkable. The main human characters are an elderly couple distraught because they must now turn away the coyotes from their contaminated water tank. Some of the prose is quite beautiful, as hot and arid as the terrain being described; yet the novel is hampered by its central ``voice,'' or point of view--that of the coyotes themselves. This highly anthropomorphized perspective is less than convincing; the thoughts and reasoning of the coyotes often seem more like those of concerned environmentalists than wild desert creatures. The author's message is well taken, so it is unfortunate that she chose such an awkward and unworkable ``vehicle'' to carry it forth.-- Jessica Grim, Univ. of California Lib., Berkeley
School Library Journal
YA-- In this wonderfully written fable, the distasteful coyote is a creature of great strength and intelligence. When the well on the property of old Hallie and Albert Ryder becomes poisoned from mine tailings, the desert animals lose their watering place. As a result of this catastrophe, the coyote--whom Hallie calls Brand X--decides to seek Skywater, the mythical watering place of the moon-callers. This poetic story, told from the viewpoint of the animals, details the trek across the Sonoran Desert by the maverick band of coyotes. Readers are led on a quest ``to heed an ancient yearning for the time when water had been bountiful and thirst unknown . . . '' This seemingly harsh adventure is told in a moving, quiet manner, and YAs are sure to find it fascinating food for thought. --Donna R. Deibel, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780595184491
Publisher:
iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/14/2001
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

Meet the Author

Melinda Worth Popham was the first winner of the Edward Abbey Eco-Fiction Award and the recipient of an NEA grant. Skywater was named an American Library Association “Notable Book.” The California State Senate honored her “outstanding literary achievement advocating environmental conservation, preservation and enhancement.” Skywater is her second novel. Her forthcoming memoir Grace Period is based on life events that led her to Yale Divinity School. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she raised her family in Malibu, California, and currently lives in Los Angeles.

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Skywater 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A deep midnight blue shecat with white spots padded in, gazing into the water. "Am I worthy? I wish to help."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Then what d i see?