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Edge of Taos Desert: An Escape to Reality Paperback – April 1, 1987


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Edge of Taos Desert: An Escape to Reality + Winter in Taos (Southwest Heritage) + Mabel Dodge Luhan: New Woman, New Worlds
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (April 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826309712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826309716
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I finished it in a state of amazed revelation . . . it is so beautifully compact and consistent. . . . it is going to help many another woman and man to 'take life with the talons' and carry it high." -- Ansel Adams

From the Inside Flap

Autobiographical account describing Luhan's first months in New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The writing is of unparralled beauty and perception.
cboys@infinet.net
A perfect expression of the gift of the Tiwa Pueblo tribes and what American's could learn from this great Native Culture.
Jane
She describes the Mexicans bringing in wood by burro to sell as well the first time she saw an Indian.
Tracy Robert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By cboys@infinet.net on June 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a rare jem. The writing is of unparralled beauty and perception. Mabel Dodge Lujan describes her arrival in Taos, New Mexico in l9l7. Lujan has come from New York city where she was a wealthy socialite involved in various art and political/psychological cicles (She was the former lover of John Reed who was portrayed by Warren Beatty in the movie Reds). She has come to Taos to reunite with her husband, the artist Maurice Stearn. However, almost imediately she finds that the town of Taos, and especially the Indians of the neighboring pueblo, are awakening the depths of her in a sublime and inevitable way. She describes how this process of conversion from a relatively shallow person (though an earnest seeker of truth), to one who begins to understand and feel the life beyond herself is catalyzed by the Indian Tony Lujan, whom she later marries. The story is really a spiritual one, but never described as such. Rather one only feels the utter humility of this women in the face of a way of life that increasingly draws her to it while also drawing her to the depth of herself. Her descriptions of the Indian life of the pueblo must be some of the finest ever crafted about native Americans.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Robert on June 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
In December of 1917, Mabel Dodge Sterne and her husband, artist Maurice Sterne, made their way up to Taos in an unforgettable journey up the rural road. Mabel immediately connected spiritually and emotionally with Taos and was drawn to find a place to stay. "Edge of Taos Desert" is the story of her personal transformation during her first year in Taos. In many ways, this book is an insightful commentary on Santa Fe and Taos in 1918. Mabel's description of the physical and cultural environment is vivid. She describes the Mexicans bringing in wood by burro to sell as well the first time she saw an Indian. Careful readers will discern the conflicts and prejudices between the Pueblo people, the Mexicans, and the more newly arrived Anglos. She provides many priceless early observations of the region that may best be understood by readers who have some knowledge of New Mexico history and culture. However, understanding Mabel's history may provide more information about the significance of this book.
Mabel Dodge Luhan grew up in a wealthy family that left her emotionally bankrupt. She spent years of her adult life looking for the fulfillment of her emptiness. She was a renaissance woman in Italy, and then a salon hostess in New York, hosting conversations with some of the brightest minds of her time. She was a radical modernist looking for a solution to the American ills brought on by the Industrial Revolution. "Edge of Taos Desert" is the most important autobiographical chapter in her life because, in the Pueblo people, she believed that she had found a solution to both her emotional emptiness and America's discontentment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Lee Edwards on October 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book intriguing, well-written and hard to put down. In the year of the Russian revolution, Mabel Dodge Sterne, at age 38, newly married to her third husband, artist Maurice Sterne, abandoned her high society life in Florence and New York City and moved to Taos. This, the fourth volume of her autobiographies starts with her arrival by train in Santa Fe. So eager was she to reach her destination that she left the slow train and hailed a car and driver to take her the rest of the way. But when the car breaks down she reboards the train. After a few weeks in Santa Fe she finally goes to Taos and immediately rents an apartment to the consternation of Maurice who plans to return to NY. An unusual woman who doesn't take no for an answer, she slowly adapts some of her ways to the culture of the Indians in Taos Pueblo, and soon she has established an emotional connection with Indian Tony Luhan.
There are marvelous descriptions of their adventures, and the purchase of an adobe house and expansion of that house by Tony and his builders. Mabel spends time every day at the pueblo, learning from the Indian way of life and teaching knitting skills to the women. Eventually Mabel knows that she will be connected to Tony for the rest of her life and she gives Maurice a date to move out. After only one year of marriage, Maurice returns to NYC never to see Mabel again. At the end of the book, Tony moves into Mabel's adobe and the blending of their lives and cultures is complete. Yet he still maintains his family relationships with his Indian wife Candelaria and family in the Pueblo. How this was managed is not explained. Mabel's son John, a collector of Spanish folkart, lives with them.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dusty R. Knoblauch on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I really loved this book - beautifully written and it is a wonderful look at Taos and the Pueblo in the early 1900's. My daughter has orderd the next one, "Winter in Taos" as a Mother's Day gift.Luhan is a most unusual person with a very beautiful outlook on the high desert and it's people.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Bartolomucci on September 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was absolutely amazing! If you are reading this, stop and just go and buy the book. If you love the Taos region, you will enjoy it even more. Perfectly written. Makes one feel like staying home from work and reading in front of a crackleing fire with the dog at your feet and the cat in your lap, covered with your favorite blanket your grandmother made for you. (A cup of hot chocolate or tea would be great too!)You will not be disapointed.
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