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The Land Of Little Rain Paperback – August 21, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Echo Library (August 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406806781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406806786
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

""The Land of Little Rain "was a book well worth awaiting. . . . a collection of essays about the Southwest, beautifully written." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Novelist and essayist who wrote about Native American culture and their social problems. Mary Austin is the author of nearly thirty books and hundreds of short works that drew from her impressions of the indigenous people. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Reading it gave me a history of places I've loved and can't wait to go back to.
Bookdiver2
Indeed, M.H.A. displayed an uncanny sensitivity and understanding of the desert lands in the Owens Valley, California.
Bugs
It's been said that Mary Austin's work is the finest nature writing between John Muir's and Aldo Leopold's.
Jonathan P. Higgins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Mumbo on December 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book as it describes Death Valley and surrounds in the US and as I had been there thought it might provide a little more in depth information about the area. She writes delightfully about flora, fauna and nature's way, however, I got a little bogged down two thirds of the way in with almost unlimited descriptions of flora - perhaps someone with this background would find it fascinating - anyhow I soldiered on and found the remainder of the book very good, particularly the native indian tribe's customs and ways. Recommended....
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
Austin lived in the Owens Valley during a turbulent period at the turn of the century, and she observes the people and wild things dwelling there with a novelist's eye. But what sets this gem above all the rest is simply her writing, the plain beauty of her voice and phrasing. She achieves a tone that is somehow at once wistful and tinged with levity, very gently ironic yet always loving. Her words caress their subjects like -- well, like the pen and ink drawings that graced the original publication in 19-ought-whatever. They evoke all the richness of the place, its austerity, its pathos, its beauty, with a gentle affection that is sweet but never cloying, sometimes sad but never downcast. It has a kind of Zen translucency, filtered through the gently humorous, sensitive lens of a literary genius.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bugs on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The famous American-West landscape photographer, Ansel Adams and friend of M.H.A., said of The Land of Little Rain: "The sharp beauty of The Land of Little Rain is finely etched in the distinguished prose of Mary Austin. Many books and articles have probed the factual aspects of this amazing land, but no writing to my knowledge conveys so much of the spirit of earth and sky, of plants and people, of storm and the desolation of majestic wastes, of tender, intimate beauty, as does The Land of Little Rain." (Re: "A Note on the Land and on the Photographs", from "The Land of Little Rain"- Houghton-Mifflin Co. 1950).

Indeed, M.H.A. displayed an uncanny sensitivity and understanding of the desert lands in the Owens Valley, California. Death Valley is, indeed, harsh and unforgiving, but to the astute observer who has learned how to live within the limits of sparse resources, it is an unequaled Paradise. She writes so eloquently and poetically of how the desert people and flora/fauna survive. The interaction of desert botany, biology, hydrology, geography, meteorology, and ecology come across vividly and often humorously with such lines as:

"Once at Red Rock, in a year of green pasture (a wet year), which is a bad time for the scavengers, we saw two buzzards, five ravens, and a coyote feeding on the same carrion, and only the coyote seemed ashamed of the company". (chapter 3- "The Scavengers")

M.H.A.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
Mary Austin's brilliant essay on a small corner of California is the subject of this breathtaking book. In prose of unvarying beauty and satisfaction she paints a stunning portrait of high mountains and deepest valleys, describes in vivid detail the lives of the native Indians and Mexican immigrants, and reminds her readers that there is life and vitality to be found in these trackless desert regions. I believe you will agree with her own motivation for writing "The Land of Little Rain" after reading it: "...as one lover of it can give to another."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mike Smith on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's pretty easy to write a book that makes people want to go somewhere that already looks appealing to them--Manhattan, Yellowstone, other places where tourists flock to--but to write a book that makes one of the most desolate, bleak, inhospitable places on the entire planet seem like somewhere you have to see for yourself as soon as possible...well, that takes some skill.

That's what Mary Austin has done however, in "The Land of Little Rain." This book examines the wildlife, plants, terrain, weather, and people of Death Valley and the surrounding area, and it does so with the eye and the pen of a true poet.

Mary Austin lavishes her words on this area in sparse, measured prose, and distills the essence of this harsh California desert into sentences and paragraphs. She finds a handful of words that perfectly suit this terrain and the life it supports--words like white, slant, tilt, sessile, and winey--and bends and twists these words every way possible to serve her every purpose.

As a result, the land she describes comes across vividly. She writes of how the desert and the wilderness "uncramps our souls," of "the days too hot and white," of slant-winged scavengers," of wandering hopelessly through the desert trodding on vultures' shadows, of "the westering sun," "the late slant light," of "a stream that knows its purpose and reflects the sky," and of the sun dancing up the slope of a mountain.

Her prose is KILLER.

She also tells firsthand accounts of Death Valley's craziest miners, of little towns that could (kind of, sometimes), and of such sad sights as a cougar lamenting the destruction of its lair and family that had been destroyed by a torrential rainstorm, "crying a very human woe.
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