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A Desert Harvest

New and Selected Essays

Bruce Berger; Introduction by Colum McCann


A Desert Harvest Download image

ISBN10: 1250251125
ISBN13: 9781250251121

Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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Occupying a space between traditional nature writing, memoir, journalism, and prose poetry, Bruce Berger’s essays are beautiful, subtle, and haunting meditations on the landscape and culture of the American Southwest. Combining new, unpublished essays with selections from his acclaimed trilogy of “desert books”—The Telling Distance, There Was a River, and Almost an IslandA Desert Harvest is a career-spanning selection of the best work by this unique and undervalued voice.

Wasteland architecture, mountaintop astronomy, Bach in the wilderness, the mind of the wood rat, the canals of Phoenix, and the numerous eccentric personalities who call the desert their home all come to life in these fascinating portraits of America’s seemingly desolate terrains.


Praise for A Desert Harvest

"Berger is a chronicler of desert life in all its forms, from the cactuses to life in the small towns of the Southwest. [A Desert Harvest] spans a career of over 30 years, leaving readers with an impressionistic picture of a distinctly American ecology."The New York Times Book Review

"A Desert Harvest renders Berger’s travels across the Southwest and down through Baja California Sur with plenty of charm and a comic sense for the surreal, but it also leaps beyond: into questions of water use or the substance of time . . . The book places him among the best of past generations to write about the Southwest."—Sean McCoy, The Los Angeles Times

"Cuts to the heart of the fierce and enduring attraction of the desert . . . A glowing appreciation for the landscape . . . radiates across Mr. Berger’s A Desert Harvest, a sublime assortment of new and selected essays . . . [Berger's writing is] poised, magisterial."—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"Captures the myriad ways the southwest desert casts a spell."National Geographic

"When he hits the mark, there are few living writers more at home in desert country than Berger . . . Hit the mark he does here . . . Berger's essays in [A Desert Harvest] are pleasures to read."Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


Colum McCann

The American musician John Cage is credited with helping to pioneer the idea of the prepared piano, where unusual items—among them tuning forks, screws, spoons, rubber...

About the author

Bruce Berger; Introduction by Colum McCann

Bruce Berger grew up in suburban Chicago. A poet and nonfiction writer, he is best known for a series of books exploring the intersections of nature and culture in desert settings. The first of these, The Telling Distance, won the 1990 Western States Book Award and the 1991 Colorado Book Award. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Sierra, Orion Magazine, Gramophone, and numerous literary quarterlies; his poems have appeared in Poetry, Barron’s, Orion Magazine, and various literary reviews in the United States, Scotland, and India, and have been collected in Facing the Music.

Bruce Berger

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