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A SONG FOR THE RIVER

by Philip Connors
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The river that runs through the wilderness opens his heart: the mountains burn, friends die, and green shoots sprout from the ashes.

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1-941026-91-5
13-digit ISBN978-1-941026-91-5
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
Also Available InHardcover
Page Count256
Publication DateSeptember 18, 2018
Starred Review1 Stars - see reviews
RightsAll Rights Available
The Gila River and Wilderness are the heart and soul of A Song for the River. Every summer since 2002, Connors has been perched in a tower 50 feet above the Gila Wilderness, watching for fire. His first book, Fire Season (30,000 sold), recounted the deep lessons learned about mountains, wilderness, fire, and solitude. A Song for the River, its sequel, updates and deepens the story: the mountain he loves goes up in flames; a lookout on another mountain whom he has come to love as brother dies in a freak accident; and three high school students he admires die tragically in an airplane crash while researching the wilderness and the wild river they wish to save. Connors channels their voices in a praise song of great urgency and makes a plea to save a vital piece of our natural and cultural heritage: the wild Gila River, whose waters are threatened by a potential dam.
Albuquerque Journal
"It is no ordinary song and no ordinary river."
- David Steinberg, September 2, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Library Journal 1 Stars
"Readers who enjoy personal narratives and nature writing will be drawn to this book, which is a nice companion to the author's earlier work, Fire Season."
- Venessa Hughes, Buffalo, NY, June 15, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Publishers Weekly 1 Stars
"This powerful work belongs with the classics of the nature writing genre and is equally important as a rumination on living and dying."
- August 1, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Kirkus Reviews
"A heartfelt, well-written volume of vignettes and reflections of a man who—much like his long lineage of fire lookout forebears—gladly chooses to escape civilization for the natural world."
- July 1, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Books We Love by Books & Books
"Produced by the award-winning independent publisher Cinco Punto Press, Philip Connors’ A Song for the River is a much-needed balm in our current age of fever-pitched distraction and tumult. It is an urging toward silence, stillness, and reflection… It is a song in the name of looking closer, looking harder… And, ultimately, it is a supplication to not turn our backs against the wild, or against each other, which, as Connors’ beautiful, understated writing intimates, are really the same thing."
Foreward Reviews
"Love for the wilderness is compellingly conveyed. In moving snapshots of those touched by the Gila, A Song for the River shows the myriad ways that naturalists and nature touches others."
- Jeff Fleischer , June 5, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Booklist Online
“[Philip] Connors’ wonderfully digressive musings offer thoughtful glimpses into the more sociable aspects of fire-watching, such as they are, and expresses longing for a bygone era of nature conservation.”
- Jonathan Fullmer, July 18, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Pages of Julia
“This book is essential.”
- June 8, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
New Mexico Magazine
"A Song for the River blends a poetic voice with a naturalist’s knowledge and a journalist’s determination to document continued threats to the Gila River and its massive surrounding acreage, which became the nation’s original wilderness area in 1924."
- August 5, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
“Philip Connors’ A Song for the River is nothing short of spectacular. With deep, clear-eyed honesty, Connors weaves the tragic story of friends gone too soon within the tale of a region, its haunting wilderness, and a meandering river. He sets out on a quest for answers, only to remind us of our common humanity. Beautifully nuanced and written in masterful prose, this is a necessary read.”
—Alfredo Corchado, Mexico Border correspondent, The Dallas Morning News, author of Midnight in Mexico
- March 1, 2018 
“Everything that is absent in the current political crises of this nation is abundantly present in Philip Connors’ A Song for the River: humility, quietude, forgiveness, and gratitude. His writing is pure, exact, compassionate, and often elegaic...I loved this book.”
—Benjamin Alire Sáenz, winner of the PEN/Faulkner for Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club
- April 15, 2018 
“In the literary tradition of Gary Snyder and Edward Abbey, Philip Connors climbs down from his fire lookout to tell his story of love and loss along the sacred waters of the Gila River, the heart of the Gila Wilderness, a place of rock and ruins, juniper and pine. The book was a page-turner for me, lyrically paced and a real pleasure to read.” 
—Doug Peacock, legendary naturalist, protector of wilderness and writer
- May 1, 2018 
“Philip Connors is the best sort of writer, one alert to the mysteries and attuned to absurdity. His concerns are elemental: fire, water, earth, and air. Add to that loss. Add to that love. And A Song for the River becomes a potent, moving tribute to wilderness, solitude, and some extraordinary people gone too soon. In the face of gaping pain, Connors, with courage and vulnerability, maintains a devotion to seeing what next season brings. In so doing, he shows us that our most scarred, charred places can be the source of the mightiest kind of beauty.”
- Nina MacLaughlin, author of Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, 
“Once again, Philip Connors demonstrates why he’s one of the most interesting writers in America. His prose—confessional, angry, wise, mesmerizing—has never been better. A Song for the River is about wildness within and without, and it’s as bracing as an early-morning chill. I loved this book.”
- Tom Bissell, author of Apostle, 
"In A Song for the River, Philip Connors redirects our attention from the trivial to the timeless: fire and water, ash and rock, death and rebirth. He shows us what we lose when we dam our rivers, and what we gain when we unleash our souls. He writes of nature as of a dear friend, and of his friends as though they were pieces of nature. This is the ethics—the ecological humanism—that we sorely, sorely need."
- Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding, 
The Inkslinger - The King’s English Bookshop
Edward Abbey meets funeral pyre in this dirge by Connors…His is an important voice in the fight for the soul of the West.
- Michaela Riding, September 8, 2018  Visit Website
full review >>
Click here to view all the reviews

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