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The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Skyby Ellen Meloy
Synopses & Reviews
In this invigorating mix of natural history and adventure, artist-naturalist Ellen Meloy uses turquoise—the color and the gem—to probe deeper into our profound human attachment to landscape.
From the Sierra Nevada, the Mojave Desert, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Bahamas to her home ground on the high plateaus and deep canyons of the Southwest, we journey with Meloy through vistas of both great beauty and great desecration. Her keen vision makes us look anew at ancestral mountains, turquoise seas, and even motel swimming pools. She introduces us to Navajo “velvet grandmothers” whose attire and aesthetics absorb the vivid palette of their homeland, as well as to Persians who consider turquoise the life-saving equivalent of a bullet-proof vest. Throughout, Meloy invites us to appreciate along with her the endless surprises in all of life and celebrates the seduction to be found in our visual surroundings.
About the Author
Ellen Meloy received a Whiting Foundation Award in 1997. Her book Ravens Exile: A Season on the Green River won a 1995 Western Writers of America Spur Award for contemporary nonfiction. She is also the author of The Last Cheaters Waltz: Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest. Her essays have appeared in Orion and Northern Lights, among other publications, and have been widely anthologized. She lives in southern Utah.
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