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Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In a lyrical mix of natural science, history, and memoir, Melissa L. Sevigny ponders what it means to make a home in the American Southwest at a time when its most essential resource, water, is overexploited and undervalued. Mythical River takes the reader on a historical sojourn into the story of the Buenaventura, an imaginary river that led eighteenth- and nineteenth-cen ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by University Of Iowa Press
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Clare O'Beara
I downloaded a copy from Net Galley for an unbiased review.

Sevigny looks at the Colorado River basin - its past, its present and its uncertain future. Having seen this river myself as a tourist, stood on Hoover Dam and looked at Lake Mead and the HEP station, I have a good image of the situation. For those who have not, the book is replete with photos of everything from habitations to wild environments. Seeing the river however does not enable us to understand how it is that the Colorado does no
...more
Sonnie Sussillo
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest author Melissa L. Sevigny has written a scientific survey couched in a memoir wrapped in a parable ending with an ethical challenge.

The el Rio de San Buenaventura is the mythical river of the title. Its history is the parable that Sevigny uses to share her personal history and memories as well as the scientific realities and ethical dilemma of water in the arid Southwest.

The Buenaventura River was imagined by the Spani
...more
Christine Howard
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: moongirl2018
This is our OneBookYuma. The young lady's prose reads like poetry and it is lovely. The history is interesting, but the scientific information bogged the story down for me. I look forward to the author's visit.
Anne
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It is difficult to know how to write a review of this book as it sits across so many genres. It is nature writing, it is memoir and it is poetry. But above all these things it is a beautiful homage to a place I have never been, nor am I likely to go and yet I feel nostalgic for it. Ms Sevigny writes "humans have an inborn affinity for water. An inward ocean shapes our cells and bends the double strands of our DNA. Polarity gives definition to the shape of a water molecule, a faint positive charg ...more
James Prothero
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a tasty mix of memoir, water facts, history and just plain truth about water and the West. It really covers just about anything you might want to know about our lifestyle drying up. Sevigny takes us from the Escalante expedition mistaking the Green River for the "Buenaventura", the mythical river that supposedly flowed easily from central Utah to San Francisco Bay, to the present water wars in California and Arizona, as well as other states thirstily sucking on the Colorado River. The mi ...more
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