I wanted so much more from this little dusty sketch of the dystopian west. It had a helluva hook – outlaw lesbians! Gun-slinging sisters-in-resistance! Non-binary action heroes! Unfortunately, it ground to a halt far short of its potential destination. It begins as all westerns do: someone hanging taut at the end of a rope. There are western tropes a-plenty; rough-riding, chaw-spitting, howdy pardnering, thankya kindly ma’ams litter the landscape. This wild west is wild for a different reason, though: we’re in a thinly plotted dystopia. […]
Claire Vaye Watkins has an infamous father. I don’t point this out in a salacious “looky here” way, but this father looms large over the first story in this collection. Her father is Tex Watson, yes, that Tex Watson. Murderer. Manson Family member. Currently and indefinitely imprisoned Tex Watson who married a prison pen pal and fathered four children while in jail. Claire wrests the reins from her father, her family, and her history to tell her own story- and it’s a doozy. All of […]
I got an advanced copy to do a review for The Literary Review, and while travel essays aren’t normally in my wheelhouse, this collection was a winner. Benz travels widely from the Florida Everglades to the Moldovan post-Communist landscape, the deserts of the American West and to the streets of Central America. Historically minded, and introspective of both the culture of the landscapes and the people who inhabit them, Benz’ accounts are a vivid and engaging story of overlooked places and history. The collection is […]
At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, originally published in 1932, is the diary of a nun, a Sister of Charity, named Sister Blandina (born Rosa Maria) Segale who spent 20 years, from 1872-1892, as a Catholic missionary and educator on the frontier of the American West. She was only 22 when she was sent to the small post in Colorado known as Trinidad. She eventually went on to posts in Santa Fe and Albuquerque before returning to Trinidad and then back to her […]
This book is awesome and beautiful, and I super love it. My full review over on my blog.