Book Reviews

The Oasis This Time

Review: The Oasis This Time, Living and Dying With Water in the West written by Rebecca Lawton. Review by Marlene Cullen.

Rebecca Lawton writes in such a personal and friendly manner, it feels as though we’re old friends sitting across from one another on a comfortable sofa and chatting.

Her humble and unassuming manner is refreshing. It’s clear she is knowledgeable about waterways as well as bird identification.

There are so many gems in this exquisite book. Lawton’s vocabulary and extensive knowledge on a variety of subjects is astounding. Her descriptions are visceral and breathtaking.

“Fortynine Palms strings before me, a green necklace. The oasis has a narrow hydric zone in a long, arid arroyo. Fresh water tickles among horsetails, maidenhair fern, willow, and cottonwood where a small bit of flow is enough to fill tiny, clear pools. Glassy surfaces are topped by gaggles of water striders. A buzz fills the air as life sirs with the sun. Hummingbirds divebomb in mating dances and zoom into blossoms on scattered stands of globe mallow. Gnatcatchers and orioles call, and the sweet scent of things growing permeates the morning.

With every step closer to the water source, I find more surprises . . .”

And we’re off, sharing in Lawton’s adventures throughout the West as she relates family camping stories, navigates her early years as a whitewater rafting guide, shares her expertise as a fluvial geologist, and as a human, carefully using earth’s resources for recreation,  vocation, and as human needs dictate.

The Oasis This Time, Living and Dying With Water in the West is a delight to read. Sit back and enjoy Lawton’s enlightened visions.

“A book of juxtapositions—ruin and growth, water and desolation. Lawton’s writing flows through wars and watering places, her prose precise and at times mystic.” —Craig Childs, Atlas of a Lost World

The Oasis This Time is available in paperback and as an ereader at Amazon.

Rebecca Lawton is a former fluvial geologist and Grand Canyon river guide whose literary awards include a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair, Nautilus Book Award, Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, Waterston Desert Writing Prize, WILLA for original softcover fiction, three Pushcart Prize nominations, and residencies at Hedgebrook, The Island Institute, and PLAYA.
She is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers, a member of the Author’s Guild, and Alumna of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

She has written eight books and numerous articles about water, rivers, climate, and nature for Aeon, Audubon, Brevity, Hakai, Hunger Mountain, More, Orion, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Sierra, Tiny Lights, Undark, and other fine journals, including the anthology The Write Spot: Connections (available on Amazon).

Her H2O Blog is a delight.

Reviews of some of Rebecca Lawton’s books

Reading Water, Lessons from the River

Junction, Utah

Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life  

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