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Winter Count
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book will send you to the dictionary while taking your breath away. Other reviewers have mentioned the phrase, "If one is patient...if you are careful, I think there is probably nothing that cannot be retrieved" from the story, The Orrery. Later in the story, The Location of the River, Lopez recounts the belief that " the history of the earth was revealed anew each spring in the shapes of the towering cumulus clouds that moved over the country from the north and west". Powerful, glorious statements.
The language in this book is so wonderful, I can only let Barry Lopez speak for himself. Two others. From ,The Woman Who Had Shells,"We carry such people with us in an imaginary way,proof against some undefined but irrefutable darkness in the world.".
For the readers, from ,The Lover of Words, "He did not wish to be distracted from...sequence in a life of readings, whereby one book leads by diaphanous but ineluctable threads to the next".
Let the thread of your reading lead you to this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
It seems an earlier reviewer had the same feelings as I about this book; I would just say - buy it for 'The Woman Who Had Shells' and 'The Orrery'. Both are twists of simple, magical stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Barry Lopez is an amazing author that brings you close to nature through his eyes in a very surreal fashion! I fell in love with Lopez's work in an american literature class in college and had the insane opportunity to meet Barry Lopez because he donated a collection of his letters to Texas Tech University where I was working with my professor as a research assistant. Not only did I get to read many of his letters, but I got to meet the man behind some amazing works like this. Even when he writes short essays like the ones in winter count, it comes across almost like prose poetry, flowing across the page to paint pictures in your mind and evoke emotions that you may have otherwise not felt in thinking of deserted landscapes. He's a powerful writer when it comes to natural imagery and he brings the traditions of other cultures to life by discussing them openly and interweaving his comments on them into his story. Absolutely beautiful, and an author that once you read one book you want to read more instantly!
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Format: Paperback
This collection of ten early short stories by Barry Lopez seems written more than a little under the influence of Borges. Elegantly told, they are designed to evoke a deep sense of wonder in the reader. The settings are often remote - the open prairie, the desert - and touch on what feel like the remote worlds of other cultures and other times, especially Native American.

The title story refers to the Indian practice of keeping a record of tribal history by representing the one most significant event of each year as a picture on a buffalo robe. In this story, a modern-day scholar immersed in the subject of this lost tradition is himself lost and out of place at a conference of academics.

One man becomes fascinated by a French mansion built on the Montana-North Dakota border in the 1860s. Another, an early explorer of the West, attempts to uncover the mystery of a disappearing river in 1840s Nebraska. Still another, in the 1960s - like a chapter out of Castaneda - finds an Indian in the Arizona desert, who conjures a vision of the universe from an arrangement of stones lying in the sand. In the small-scale domesticities of modern fiction, it's hard to find imaginative writing of this kind. I highly recommend these stories as an escape from the everyday and the ordinary.
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on February 21, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Nine short - but well wound stories weaving myth, fairy-tale, nature and Native American culture into the mix. It felt like a good old western meeting up with Charles de Lint or Neil Gaiman. Lopez touches repeatedly on a likable notion: that the way North America's natural world has been documented and cataloged needs to be reexamined. Instead of allowing the standing European explorers/exploiters attempts to align everything found on this continent with the outline they brought from home - something is gained and improved upon if this natural world is given a fresh treatment and recorded through the eyes of the men that are innately a part of this environment. Lopez also acknowledges that is pretty much too late and very unlikely to happen. But - his story gives the thought a spark. It's full of sparking poetry: "The other years came round him now like soft velvet noses of horses touching his arms in the dark." - "1833 Stars blowing around like snow. Some fall to earth." - “It is too dangerous for everyone to have the same story. The same things do not happen to everyone." I am not here to test the historical accuracy of each of his inclusions - this is a work of fiction. Lopez's words give the mind a lot of room to imagine the world differently.
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on December 18, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I keep loaning this out and never getting it back! Barry Lopez is the absolute master of the short story. What I totally love about his work is that he is so skilled at bringing detail and authenticity to a story that it's a surprise upon realizing that the stories are fiction. He's a master!
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on April 24, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
America's premiere travel and nature writer , but so much more. A man of profound honesty and integrity, with a love of living things, vast travels, and marvelous humbleness and erudition. A, who deserves a wider readership of all of his marvelous works!! prose poet. Today's Thoreau!!
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on November 13, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
wonderful stories that one will keep coming back to, as a river turns back on itself before moving downstream. an early work but wonderful.
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on August 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
Great quality & delivery.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Winter Count, like other works by Barry Lopez, presents crisp, tight writing. No word wasted. And, like other pieces, Lopez has an eye for the subtle-mystical, and the material interface between person and environment, whatever each may be. He provides us glimpses of the sparks, or mystery, or wonder, or tragedies that are present at those instances of contact that happen as human beings move through time and space. Finding a book binder out among the antelope; wild birds who visit both city and the most remote corners of the earth; rivers that disappear; peoples who do not comprehend one another in the midst of the same environment, all of these are real tensions and contrasts that are all around us, and taking time to live in the instances of contact may illuminate many eternal as well as idiosyncratic truths as yet undiscovered.
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