Synopses & Reviews
Overwhelmed with her fast-paced, competitive lifestyle, Amy Ragsdale moved with her husband, writer Peter Stark, and their two teenage children from the US to a small town in northeastern Brazil, where she hoped they would learn the value of a slower life. In this culturally rich and economically poor region, Amy and her family learn to fundamentally connect with their neighbors across language and customs. In the year they spend there, Amy grows close to her new neighbors, from the men who cut sugar cane to the clinical university students, as they became the familys guides to Brazilian life.
Elegantly written and vibrant in detail, Crossing the River tells a global story through a personal memoir, examining life without the trappings of modern American culture, and revealing surprising truths about identity, family, and love.
"Dancer and choreographer Amy Ragsdale set off with her family for a year's adventure in rural Brazil as an antidote to her overachieving super-mom life. Balance and joy were at the heart of her quest, and balance and joy are her gifts to us in this keen-eyed, candid, transformative story. Her journey is a gift to her readers. Her spirit is a model to follow."
Annick Smith, author of Homestead
"By means of bravery and an extrasensory ability to let what happens happen, Amy Ragsdale and her family left the ordinariness of American life and moved to small-town, rural Brazil, where magical realism is nonfiction walking up the the street. The details of this bookeight-foot-long fish whose scales are used as fingernail files, a hotel called Hotel God Gave Mewill rock you, and the story of what the family went through is powerfully moving. An exciting and revelatory book, a delight to read."
Ian Frazier, bestselling author of Travels in Siberia
About the Author
is an author, choreographer, traveler, and mom. Born in New York City, she grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, with stints living abroad in Thailand, the Philippines, and Egypt. She holds a BA in art history from Harvard-Radcliffe College and an MA from Wesleyan University. She served as a professor and head of the dance program at the University of Montana for twenty years, where she earned the Outstanding Faculty award. She has taught in Martinique, Mozambique, Spain, Indonesia, and Brazil, and performed with modern dance companies in Boston and New York.
Amy now runs the Headwaters Dance Company, and was selected for the Governor's Arts Award for the State of Montana in 2009. Her articles have appeared in Mamalode and High Desert Journal, and her column "Raising Rippers" appears in Outside Magazine Online. She has two children and lives in Missoula, Montana with her husband and son, along with a bumptious black lab and an imperious cat.