Ravens Exile, A Season on the Green River


Desolation Canyon – awestruck first explorers described it as “empty, “tortuous”, and “worthless,” but Ellen Meloy introduces us to a canyon that abounds with ghosts, legends, and life. Here she chronicles a river ranger season in the back country of Utah’s canyons, where she and her husband spend half the year reveling in rapids and rooflessness.

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Ravens Exile, A Season on the Green River
by Ellen Meloy

More than a century after John Wesley Powell launched his boat on the Green River, Ellen Meloy spent eight years of seasonal floats through Utah’s Desolation Canyon with her husband, a federal river ranger. She came to know the history and natural history of this place well enough to call it home, and has recorded her observations in a book that is as wide-ranging as the river and as wild as the wilderness through which it runs.

“Ellen Meloy is our raven here – funny, joyous, great-hearted — a brilliant storyteller.  Raven’s Exile is . . . a book to be celebrated.” WILLIAM KITTREDGE

“An exuberant, smart, irreverent, and loving account of one woman bearing witness in Desolation Canyon.” TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS

“This unusual book joins natural history to personal perception as it takes us to one of the country’s wild places . . . . The canyon may be desolate, but Meloy’s portrait of its spirited and intelligent, as vivid and vibrant as the land itself is dry and spare.” AMANDA HELLER, The Boston Globe

“Meloy is as prickly as a cactus, as observant and teasing as a raven, as sensual as a cat – and downright funny. She peppers her marvelous survey of Desolation Canyon’s natural and human history with a renegade’s shrewd and provocative social commentary.” Donna Seaman, Booklist

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