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A Song for the River

Southwest Books of the Year, Pima County Public Library

Over one devastating short period, essayist and Gila Wilderness firewatcher Philip Connors lost his marriage, his health, his watch station to fire, his closest colleague to a freak accident, and three teenaged environmentalists he’d known just well enough to love, to a plane crash. In this memoir, Connors chronicles his efforts to right his capsized life. Opening the memoir with a risky solo 2016 rafting trip down the swollen Gila River — in an effort both to challenge himself and to beat the threat of a diversion dam of the Gila— he then casts back to 2014 to relate the stories of his loss.

An evocative nature writer, Connors takes the reader into the aerie of his perch over the wilderness and meditates on the need for and nature of fire. And — although his occupation is by definition solitary — this is also an elegy for lost friends, a paean to the importance of human connection, and a lyrical encomium to the restorative powers of nature.
- Christine Wald-Hopkins, January 4, 2019  Visit Website

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