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Publisher Description

A Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year

"Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder."—Ann Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds

"I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won't look at them until after I'm gone." This is what Terry Tempest Williams's mother, the matriarch of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah, told her a week before she died. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as it was to discover that the three shelves of journals were all blank. In fifty-four short chapters, Williams recounts memories of her mother, ponders her own faith, and contemplates the notion of absence and presence art and in our world.

When Women Were Birds is a carefully crafted kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question: What does it mean to have a voice?

Biographies & Memoirs
April 10
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Customer Reviews

Jeauxdi ,

Very interesting

Good book

hcgriffiths ,

Voice in silence

As a new mother, this book really moved me. I found that finding and keeping my voice is constant struggle. I loved being able to see into her relationship with her mother from the empty journals. But more importantly, her ability to use the journals to find and keep her own voice over and over again. I hope to emulate Williams ability to find her voice in silence, blankness. And I hope to be able to teach my own daughter the importance and power of silence when developing one's voice.

Patricias Wisdom ,

When Women Were Birds Enthusiast

I have enjoyed all of William's books that I have read, this one touched me very deeply and I read it 8 times in a row. It is a creation mythology and a memoir of great beauty and strength. Empty journals turned into touching history and fighting for the earth in a most productive form - seed to tree and bird to branch equals song. Living life fully as a contact sport and an exercise in poetic expression. Giving up the rules in order to discover the wonder and possibility of each day even while setting the politics in motion and speaking out for all creation. I downloaded this book to my cellphone reader, just so when I am waiting I can calm myself and keep my mind in tune. It literally brings my blood pressure to norm and excites my passion for action and celebration. Woman to woman power from the tribe of one-breasted. What we have done, what we can undo, and a tribute to what can be created with the right words.

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