In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic.
Terry Tempest Williams is the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Her books include Refuge, Leap, Red, and The Open Space of Democracy. Her writing appears frequently in journals and newspapers worldwide. She is the recipient of Lannan and Guggenheim fellowships in creative nonfiction. Williams lives in Castle Valley, Utah.
"There has never been a book like Refuge, an entirely original yet tragically common story, brought exquisitely to life." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Moving and loving... both a natural history of an ecological phenomenon [and] a Mormon family saga... A heroic book." --The Washington Post Book World
"Brilliantly conceived... one of the most significant environmental essays of our time." --The Kansas CityStar