Synopses & Reviews
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Evans Biography Award in 1990, River of Traps is a portrait in words and photographs of three men and the mountain village in northern New Mexico that shaped their lives. It is now available in a paperback edition that maintains the oversize format and duotone printing.
River of Traps is unlike any other book I know. In its brilliant verbal and photographic portrait of a complicated 'simple' man and his place in the world, it achieves an astounding richness and depth. Yet it never strays from the clear straight lines of human story - a man lives a hard good life and dies; two friends recall him. The reader who won't be moved and instructed is likely far past human reach; Tolstoy would have loved and honored it.--Reynolds Price
New Mexicos Sangre de Cristo mountains are a place where two cultures Hispanic and Anglo meet. They're also the place where three men meet: William deBuys, a young writer; Alex Harris, a young photographer; and Jacobo Romero, an old farmer. When Harris and deBuys move to New Mexico in the 1970s, Romero is the neighbor who befriends them and becomes their teacher. With the tools of simple labor shovel and axe, irony and humor he shows them how to survive, even flourish, in their isolated village. A remarkable look at modern life in the mountains, River of Traps also magically evokes the now-vanished world in which Romero tended flocks on frontier ranges and absorbed the values of a society untouched by cash or Anglo America. His memories and wisdom, shared without sentimentality, permeate this absorbing story of three men and the place that forever shaped their lives.