WINNER OF THE SIGURD F. OLSON NATURE WRITING AWARD
WINNER OF THE WOMEN WRITING THE WEST WILLA LITERARY AWARD IN CREATIVE NONFICTION
“[A] shimmering memoir . . . A bittersweet tribute to home and family in breathtaking prose that will appeal to lovers of memoirs and history, as well as anyone who enjoys beautifully crafted writing.” —Library Journal, starred review
Kendra Atleework grew up in the Owens Valley of the Eastern Sierra Nevada in California, where annual rainfall averages five inches and in drought years measures closer to zero.
Her parents taught their children to thrive in this beautiful but harsh landscape prone to wildfires, blizzards, and gale-force winds. Above all, the Atleework children were raised on unconditional love and delight in the natural world. But when Kendra’s mother died when Kendra was just sixteen, her once-beloved desert world came to feel empty and hostile, as climate change, drought, and wildfires intensified. The Atleework family fell apart, even as her father tried to keep them together. Kendra escaped to Los Angeles, and then Minneapolis, land of tall trees, full lakes, water everywhere you look.
But after years of avoiding her hometown, she felt pulled back. Incorporating the fascinating history of the landscape and powerful nature writing, Miracle Country is a moving and unforgettable memoir of flight and return, emptiness and bounty, the realities of a harsh and changing climate, and the true meaning of home. For readers of Cheryl Strayed, Annie Dillard, and Rebecca Solnit, this is a breathtaking debut by a remarkable writer.