An apostle of life and earth and a soul-revving teller of true stories, Williams brings lyricism, candor, mystery, and factual exactitude to the deeply affecting essays collected here ... [Williams] traces the nexus between beauty and spirit and explains lucidly and passionately why it’s essential for humanity to conserve nature on our warming planet ... Williams reports on enlightening forays in the Arctic, Galápagos Islands, Rwanda, and China, and shares, with profound resonance, her brother’s suicide and the harsh consequences of her and her husband’s protest purchase of oil and gas leases. Williams takes readers far beyond the expected, illuminates unforeseen connections, and rejects despair, embracing, instead, attentiveness and action ... Williams’ exquisite testimony of wonder and wisdom is vitalizing and crucial.
It is in this spacious, all-encompassing spirit that Terry Tempest Williams imagines erosion in her new book, as a process that also weathers the body, mind and spirit ... Williams makes a poignant connection between the political and the personal ... Williams has woven together several kinds of trauma, evoking the precise weft many of us are living under these days ... If Williams’s haunting, powerful and brave book can be summed up in one line of advice it would be this: try to stare down the grief of everyday life, speak out and find solace in the boundless beauty of nature.
... impassioned ... Williams understands that her observations—and, ultimately, her faith in humanity and optimism about its future—come from a place of privilege ... Williams’s impatience with subtlety, penchant for aphorisms, and wide embrace of repetition threaten to dull the book’s message early on. But the more she repeats her arguments—sometimes within the same paragraph—for saving public lands, standing up to the oil and gas industries, and building 'another world in the ashes of this one,' the more effective Erosion becomes.
Those familiar with Williams’ previous work know that one of her strengths is her ability to write about the minute specifics of a particular ecosystem while conveying universal truths about the human condition. And while a significant number of these essays are about the environmental damage that is the direct result of political decisions, she also writes here about the ways in which individual lives wear away ... weaves together personal experiences with the larger world in order to produce shattering emotional truths ... [Williams] create[s] something permanent and beautiful in the face of wanton destruction.
... passionate, galvanizing essays ... Despite the potential for despair, however, Williams writes with a poetic optimism. 'We need not lose hope, we just need to locate where it dwells,' she insists, and one of those places is in Williams’s own writing, as demonstrated in this stirring collection.
Believing the life of the planet is now at stake, Williams marshals dazzling prose to summon activists to resist and revolt ... not a book you drink in one gulp; you take a few sips and savor the skill of a talented writer who fuses soul to scholarship. For some, the essays will be a conservationist’s creed with too much information about red-winged blackbirds and sand bill cranes, while others will be impressed by the depth and detail of the author’s avian expertise.
These essays—written between 2016 and 2018 and mostly high quality—take readers to extraordinary places ... Not every piece is a winner, but this anthology of grief, anger, and even hope capably reflects Williams’ wise voice.
... covers a lot of ground, from Williams’ fervent support of the federal government’s Wilderness Act and Endangered Species Act to the plights of Rwanda’s gorillas, the vanishing of polar bears and fishing villages as ice melts in the Arctic Circle ... The book takes readers from one emotional extreme to another.