THE SECRET FOREST by Charles Bowden


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 Tales of the brute geography of tropical Sonora, told with originality by a writer known for prose with an offbeat edge. Bowden (Desierto, 1991, etc.) light-foots his way through the wonders of the dry tropical forest around Alamo, Mexico--a forest system that stretches from New Mexico to the Andes, but only in fragments: It's a patchwork of remnants, another on the long list of threatened environments. Although Bowden serves up healthy doses of botany and biology, this couldn't be farther from a technical study: He takes much greater pleasure in describing the obscure corners of the region, the chance encounters and strange conversations he happens upon. In prose that is by turns dreamy, then hard, even crystalline, he draws a portrait of this ``wonderful collision of desert, and tropics and sierra,'' a forest yielding the raw stuff for the spiritual as well as everyday needs of its inhabitants. Bowden's talent for drawing minimalist still lives from his experiences, combined with ancient and contemporary commentaries on the region, provides a compelling sense of place- -vivid, idiosyncratic, transporting. Freethinkers seem to make the best travel writers, and Bowden is snug in that company, with more than a hint of the anarchist about him, a man not averse to the occasional conversation with a rock or tree. The way he sees it, nature is ``a world that consumes all living things and means all living things.'' A vibrant sketch imbued with elegance, mystery, and charm. (Sixty color photographs by Pulitzer-winning photographer Jack Dykinga)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8263-1403-1
Page count: 160pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993


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