I like to read local literature, books that play in my neighborhood. I like to relate to a place, and recognize place names in a book. It is helps understanding the movement of the actors and the plot background, at least with my limited fantasy. Whatever, I am enjoying reading local literature.
My first pick for this winter in New Mexico was “Fire Season” by Philip Connors, who left the Wall Street Journal for a seasonal job with the U.S. Forest Service. He spends the wildfire season on a lookout that has no road access. He gets to meet only a few dedicated hikers, friends and his wife. That leaves a lot of time to reflect on wilderness, solitude, and humanity. He comments on the management of wildfires, the purpose of wilderness, and the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf. If those topics are down your alley, this award-winning book will not disappoint.
Then came Edward Abbey’s “Black Sun”. Who knew that Ed did write a romance? In his own words: “Like most honest novels, Black Sun is partly autobiographical, mostly invention, and entirely true. The voice that speaks in this book is the passionate voice of the forest, the madness of desire, and the joy of love, and the anguish of final loss.”. Some may say this is not romance, just the sick fantasy of a middle-age man… You are probably right. Still, I liked the book.
And finally, “The Crossing” by Cormac McCarthy. This is the story of young boy on a mission to trap a wolf that has crossed into his father’s ranch. The story is set in the 30s, near the Mexican border. It describes the harshness and beauty of the desert landscape, along with the friendliness and hostility of the people who live there. Cormac writes about the connection between man and animal, an some of the most moving writing here is about wolves and horses.