An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-05-20 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 15 user ratings

"This book, although twenty years old, remains relevant. Carrying about wilderness areas, being good caretakers of the Earth, and valuing all life...these are issues current to 2015. Small vignettes make up this nature book. I found myself crying for the coyote and song birds we so carelessly destroy. "... in the midst of wild serenity we as a species choose to shatter it again and again." A perfect read for the new year; take a walk in the wilderness.

"I want to tell what the forests were like. I will have to speak a forgotten language." W.S.Merwin
" said.

"Very relatable text about being an advocate and lover of the Southwest's wildness. She can be a little overwhelming at times, however, because she writes with a lot of metaphoric zeal that can seem forced (ex. the ecosystem, echo system metaphor). I rolled my eyes occasionally, but overall really enjoyed the book and it is on my list of favorite outdoor story collections. She's no Edward Abbey, but I appreciated her clear passion for nature and her devotion to some of our country's greatest outdoor activists." said.

"Like all of Terry Tempest Williams's books, this one brings together disparate elements into tightly bound themes: Our relationships with each other, with the world we inhabit--both cultural and natural, and the legacies we leave to successive generations. "An Unspoken Hunger" touches poignantly on the role of women in our society, especially in an age of weapons proliferation, dwindling natural resources and increasing cultural tensions. She writes unflinchingly of the real role woman can play, that of Coyote, of Trickster, and ways in which women like Wangari Maatthai have stepped into the vaccuum left by male disinterest to create flourishing movements. Her writing is at once personal reflection and on the ground reportage. Like any good Naturalist--she brings the world into a point of stillness, a moment of light falling in a canyon; a flash flood; a euology for a man and a mountain--and the whole of our man-made chaos seems recognizable for minute, because the humanity has been restored to it." said.

"I really like Terry Tempest Williams, so even though this book was not a favorite, I still enjoyed reading it. This is a collection of thoughts tied together loosely by a strong thread of environmentalism and peace activism.

I was surprised that a nice Mormon girl like TTW was paling around with the likes of Dave Foreman in the '90s but this admission of friendship was one of the serious strengths of the book in that it made me like TTW even more. I believe it takes guts to associate yourself with the founders of Earth First. I suppose I should not be surprised by the connection considering that the book contains a eulogy for Edward Abbey.

All that said, I read this book over 20 years after it was written and a lot has changed in those 20+ years. I suppose Foreman is considered a domestic terrorist now, and we all have the benefit of knowing the outcome of the ever-continuing conflicts in Middle East after the death of Saddam Hussein so some of this content is seriously dated.

All in all a half decent, if rambling, account of the author's line of thinking in 1994, and if you are a fan of TTW, you will find some things to think about here.
" said.

"Williams tells stories to remind us of our oneness with the earth and all of life. These are beautifully written, heartfelt, poignant essays about our life with one another and with the earth. And intimacy with the land is connected to intimacy with one another

"If I choose not to become attached to nouns - a person, place, or thing - then when I refuse an intimate's love or hoard my spirit, when a known landscape is bought, sold, and developed, chained or grazed to a stubble, or a hawk is shot and hung by its feet on a barbed-wire fence, my heart cannot be broken because I never risked giving it away.

But what kind of impoverishment is this to withhold emotion, to restrain our passionate nature in the face of a generous life just to appease our fears? A man or woman whose mind reins in the heart when the body sings desperately for connection can only expect more isolation and greater ecological disease. Our lack of intimacy with each other is in direct proportion to our lack of intimacy with the land. We have taken our love inside and abandoned the wild." pp. 63-64

Highly recommended.
" said.

"The title alone grabbed me, “An Unspoken Hunger.” Wow. And then I noticed the author’s name was “Tempest.” Another “Wow.”

Tempest. That's perfect. This is a book filled with passion: passion for the land, passion for life, passion for the natural world and our place in it. Sensual, peaceful, yet, full of strength. As the jacket copy states, “Through the grace of her stories we come to see how a lack of intimacy with the natural world has initiated a lack of intimacy with each other.”

In her essay “Undressing the Bear,” in this case, the bear represents “the wisdom of the wild,” Tempest writes:

“I have felt the pain that arises from a recognition of beauty, pain we hold when we remember what we are connected to and the delicacy of our relations. It is this tenderness born out of a connection to place that fuels my writing. Writing becomes an act of compassion toward life, the life we so often refuse to see because if we look too closely or feel too deeply, there may be no end to our suffering. But words empower us, move us beyond our suffering, and set us free. This is the sorcery of literature. We are healed by our stories.

By undressing, exposing and embracing the bear, we undress, expose, and embrace our authentic selves.”

Yet, another, “Wow.”
" said.

"In the same week (this! week, as it were), I followed my first-ever Abbey (via Down the River) with my first-ever Terry Tempest Williams (via you guessed it: An Unspoken Hunger), and while they are certainly different in their conservationist approaches and conversations, these are two books, two collections, two voices, that weave together nicely. That complement each other the way a smattering of shells complement a stunning coast-line, or the way steep and jagged canyon walls complement a rushing river. In this particular collection Tempest Williams doesn't feel as focused as Abbey seemed in Down the River; her writing doesn't read as polished in thought and execution as Abbey's (and others' outdoor/naturalist) writing felt and feels to me (the number of times I thought one of her essays would have ended so much stronger had she not written that last sentence!).

She doesn't make me laugh the way Abbey does, but she makes me think like he did, especially when she's talking about other naturalists, when she's telling stories about her grandmother, and her uncle, and about the myriad other players in this global game of conservation - when she's talking about and eulogizing Abbey. When she's talking about the women who have come before her, the women who have beautifully and honestly shaped and molded her, and the state of conservation in the world today: That's when her writing is at its best and brightest. That's when I want to underline passages, and re-read them for strength and for sharing. That's when my eyes alight like one of her heralded Coyote Clan, and I want to hoot and holler and dance and howl at the moon in the middle of a torrential desert rainstorm.

[Three-point-five stars for the pieces of her stories that will stick to my bones, and for the pages and ways in which she seeks to embolden women naturalists the world over.]
" said.

"This is a series of essays that were published over twenty years ago, that continue to be well worth reading. Some of them I would award with 5+ stars, others did not strike me as deeply, but all in all this is a woman who speaks to my soul. Williams has a passion for the earth and all things natural, she is a feminist who calls upon the power of women to protect and heal this world, she is anchored in the West (Utah) but brings stories from throughout the world, and she has a spiritual connection these places through her Mormon background coupled with an honoring of Native American spirituality. "... in the midst of these difficult times... if you are going into that place of intent to have to know how to dance."" said.

June 2018 New Book:

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