Synopses & Reviews
Foreword by William Kittredge
Phil Condon's sharply etched and thoughtful essays immerse us in the physical world even as they leap from that world into the heart and spirit of the self and our culture. The writing always starts here along an icy riverbank in mid-town, in an old midwestern slaughterhouse, on summer trails and winter ski paths in western Montana, among the audience of a high school supper musical, at the base of a four-century-old Ponderosa pine and then they look to recall how we came, and more importantly, where we can go and what we might take with us on our journey. In the case of the old pine, we hope to hold on to the awe it inspires and perhaps decide the answer to a 13-year-old boy's instinctive question: which way will it fall?
The fourteen personal essays in Montana Surround center on places Condon has lived, worked, and walked, and they express the many dimensions we find in living places: the appreciation, wonder, paradox, and problems that arise from their essence, fullness, history, and future. At the same time this work illuminates Condon's conviction that relationships with the natural world have somehow redeemed him and made his life possible and rich.
"This book carried me into a landscape of both sadness and hope. There is an enlightened melancholy to [Condon's] prose, reminding me of a full moon breaking through on a very cloudy night." Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Open Space of Democracy and Red
"Like the water he drills for and the rivers he walks beside, Condon's narratives offer both sustenance and solace." Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness
About the Author
Phil Condon is the author of River Street: A Novella and Stories, and the novel Clay Center, winner of the William Faulkner Creative Writing Award. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals. He teaches Environmental Writing and Literature in the graduate program of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana.