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Raven's Exile: A Season on the Green River Paperback – March 1, 2003


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Raven's Exile: A Season on the Green River + The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky + Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816522936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816522934
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,488,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Each summer, Meloy, a freelance writer, and her husband, a river ranger with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, raft Utah's Green River through the 84-mile-long gorge at Desolation Canyon. In this scintillating account of one season on the river, she uses rich and sensuous language to convey the breathtaking beauty of the region--the play of color and light on steep canyon walls, the force of spring windstorms and the mystery of abandoned Indian cliff dwellings. Although Desolation Canyon is relatively unspoiled, the threat of human meddling is ever present; Meloy considers ravens, wily birds whose absence from Desolation Canyon she has never been able to explain and which become a symbol of everything that is, and should remain, beyond human comprehension and control. This paean to the beauty of desert wilderness includes the author's drawings of ancient petroglyphs found on the canyon walls.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Meloy describes this as a book about place. That place is mainly the Green River, the Colorado's longest tributary, as it passes through Desolation Canyon. Her husband is a ranger for the Bureau of Land Management, and together they spend summers monitoring use and abuse of the canyon, often from a raft on the river itself. Meloy is extremely protective of Desolation Canyon, so much so that her narrative is more prohibiting than welcoming. She left this reader with a feeling of having been told, "Don't come here; you're an outsider" rather than of being invited to come along on an armchair visit to a spectacular area. Her history lessons, both natural and cultural, are not quite in-depth enough to be completely fulfilling, yet are still informative. Suggested only for regional and Colorado River collections.
Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scott August on May 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a gem. If Abbey had a feminine counter-voice Meloy's would be it. Like Desert Solitaire Meloy speaks of the raw, untamed beauty of the southern Utah wilderness. We travel with her and her husband Mark down the Green River through Desolation Canyon and deep into the wild places of the human psyche. Meloy takes us back to our more primitive self with an eye for detail and a soft, gentle humor. She transports us on a journey that few of us will ever take. Through her eyes we see the river from a myriad of uses and view points: the prehistoric Fremont culture, early river runners to the modern river rat. Like Abbey before her, Meloy gives us a sense of place that comes alive through her words. This is an ode to a wild river and as she feared, possibly a eulogy. Desolation Canyon its environs remains one of the more endangered places in the southwest. The wild in all of us lost a voice with her untimely death in 2004.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Freeman on March 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
A meditation on the Green River, water in the West, and wilderness.

I first read Meloy's EATING STONE, a book about desert bighorns. In comparison to that book, where the specificity of the theme reined in the author's imagination somewhat, RAVEN'S EXILE ranges widely. I think it should be read as a meditation/rant rather than as a factual account or even a memoir. At times the language is poetic; at other times I found it imprecise and over-the-top. Sometimes Meloy's outrage at American culture's lack of concern for wilderness, the hubris of building huge cities in the middle of the desert, and the arrogance of wanting to replace native fish with others that give better "sport" is acutely expressed and trenchant; sometimes the text degenerates into idiosyncracy and misanthropy.

Recommended, but I tend to think Craig Childs' book on water in the desert addresses the topic better.
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By Chris Edmonds on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have a 1995 copy of "Raven's Exile" and I picked it up again a week ago because I am planning a trip through Labyrinth Canyon and I was looking for insights on the Green River. Colin Fletcher wrote "The River" which I re-read first and then I opened Ellen's work and was immediately entranced and transported again to the Utah desert.

While I like Abbey's work, Meloy is less of a curmudgeon. I am an admirer of Fletcher but Meloy is less Narcissistic. She reports her emotions and has a turn of phrase which is astonishing. After a chapter on the absence of Ravens in Desolation... a chapter later she throws in a bombshell about the disappeared native Fremonts... "I believe a small band of Fremont Indians remain in Desolation Canyon. They spend a great deal of time with ravens." After reading that line I believe too.
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