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Wandering Time
     

Wandering Time

by Luis Alberto Urrea
 

Fleeing a failed marriage and haunted by ghosts of his past, Luis Alberto Urrea jumped into his car several years ago and headed west. Driving cross-country with a cat named Rest Stop, Urrea wandered the West from one year's spring through the next.

Hiking into aspen forests where leaves "shiver and tinkle like bells" and poking alongside

Overview

Fleeing a failed marriage and haunted by ghosts of his past, Luis Alberto Urrea jumped into his car several years ago and headed west. Driving cross-country with a cat named Rest Stop, Urrea wandered the West from one year's spring through the next.

Hiking into aspen forests where leaves "shiver and tinkle like bells" and poking alongside creeks in the Rockies, he sought solace and wisdom. In the forested mountains he learned not only the names of trees—he learned how to live. As nature opened Urrea's eyes, writing opened his heart. In journal entries that sparkle with discovery, Urrea ruminates on music, poetry, and the landscape. With wonder and spontaneity, he relates tales of marmots, geese, bears, and fellow travelers. He makes readers feel mountain air "so crisp you feel you could crunch it in your mouth" and reminds us all to experience the magic and healing of small gestures, ordinary people, and common creatures.

Urrea has been heralded as one of the most talented writers of his generation. In poems, novels, and nonfiction, he has explored issues of family, race, language, and poverty with candor, compassion, and often astonishing power. Wandering Time offers his most intimate work to date, a luminous account of his own search for healing and redemption.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a book about letting go and starting over—about what is important enough to put into your pocket." —Foreword Magazine

"His stream-of-consciousness entries, filled with Urrea's playful, introspective language, help him exorcise personal demons while painting vivid, original portraits of nature and the people who roam through it." —Latina

"At once personal and universal, written with the introspection and intimacy of the journal and the notebook as well as with the reverence and attention of nature writing." —World Literature Today

H. Shaw Cauchy
This is a book about mercy, hope, giving thanks, possibility, the search for meaning and the discovery of the simple silver moon....Urrea's book of notes and poems and dialogues follows the western seasons. He gets to know the way so well that he can bring his readers, like friends, to the flat rock on the trail to Boulder Creek.
ForeWord Magazine
Library Journal
In this slender volume, Urrea, writer in residence at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, documents his journey through the American West as he escapes from a failed marriage and an unresolved past. His admiration for some of the great writers who traveled and kept journals is apparent throughout the book. The beauty of the land and the discovery of nature are entwined with realistic accounts of some of the people he encounters on his pilgrimage. His language varies from the colorful and descriptive to a forced roughness and an attempt to be "cool." There is also a lack of connection among many of the journal entries. References to writers such as Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, Tom McGuane, and others are refreshing details in an otherwise bland piece. Recommended for large collections and area libraries.--Cynde Bloom Lahey, New Canaan Lib., CT
Kirkus Reviews
A disjointed, gushing collection of musings on and descriptions of a yearlong road trip cum walking tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. After his difficult marriage came apart, Urrea (By the Lake of Sleeping Children, 1996, etc.) embarked on a trip along the flanks of the Rockies in an attempt to bring new openness to his heart and live a more soulful life. The journal he kept during his wanderings says surprisingly little about the broken marriage that provoked them. Instead, it records Urrea's thoughts on the sights he sees-broken cars, playful butterflies-and the people he meets as he drives and walks his way through the parks and cities of Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. Urrea has an endearing talent for noticing the small things in nature (mouse tracks, slow and fast ants, baby snakes), and his enthusiasm for getting to know people from all walks of life (bishops, mechanics, homeboys, neo-Nazis, nature-lovers, evangelists, hippies, rednecks, Mexican laborers) is a refreshing departure from the studied cynicism of many writers today. But much of Urrea's writing is marred by a vagueness that can approach absurdity ("Anyone who has ever engaged an aspen in any meaningful dialogue at all recognizes its optimistic and generous nature almost immediately") and his constant references to other writers (Abbey, Kerouac, Bukowski, Ackerman, and Basho, to name a few) and to his own process of writing a journal fill this book like so much white noise. A disappointing exercise, Urrea's journals lack the narrative focus and emotional power to keep pulling the reader through his countless tangents. .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816518661
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press
Publication date:
01/01/1999
Series:
Camino del Sol
Pages:
130
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are Saying About This

Brian Laird
With Wandering Time , Luis Alberto Urrea has elevated himself among the ranks of the best writers of the American West - Edward Abbey, Ann Zwinger, and Thom McGwane.
Jodi Picoult
Wandering Time takes you on a journey with a poet at your side, a guide who... paints a picture so clear you realize you've been seeing the same thing in your heart all along. The more I read, the more I wanted to read.
William Pitt Root
A geyser of joie de vivre bubbling with duende and dark sounds, with bursts of flamenco, zydeco, and corridas crossed by blues.... Read it, take heart, and pass it on.

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