The Anthropology of Turquoise

anthropology of turquoise coverThe Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
Ellen Meloy
Vintage, reprint edition (November 26, 2008), 338 pages
Kindle edition $9.99, Amazon paperback $13.63

Ellen Meloy, when she is known at all, is known for her writing about the Southwest. I knew nothing of her until I listened to a course on writing essays from The Great Courses. It is a shame that she is not better known, and it is a shame that she died all to early in 2004 at age 59. Meloy knew how to vividly describe the Southwest and she knew how to style an evocative sentence. In one essay she writes about her childhood:

quoteAlthough I am certain I swam with my brothers or with friends, I recall instead a solitary, private world of sun and turquoise, leaving behind the sultry summer air, the lulling chorus of cicadas, and an interminable girl-boy geekiness to slip beneath the surface and stroke along the silent bottom of the pool—agile and fearless in water honeycombed with light.

The present volume is a collection of essays. While she writes about the Southwest, she also touches on other topics, including the Caribbean and her discovery of her ancestors there as well as the sex life of flowers.

The Southwest, however, is what she really knows. If you appreciate the Southwest you will enjoy Meloy’s writing.



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