"Few writers can better express the strange vitality of desert landscapes than Childs."
Originally published over twenty-five years ago, Stone Desert brings the wonder and wildness of one of our nation’s most geologically and culturally unique national parks to readers everywhere. With a new introduction by the author, this edition includes Craig Childs’s original journal—written over a winter in Canyonlands National Park and complete with pen-and-ink sketches—from which Stone Desert originated. Join Childs as he hikes the high mesas, navigates the winding canyons, and witnesses the ancient rock art of Utah’s most inscrutable and remote slickrock desert.
CRAIG CHILDS is the author of more than a dozen books on nature, adventure, and science, including The Secret Knowledge of Water and Atlas of a Lost World. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Outside. Recipient of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, he lives in Colorado.
Praise for Virga and Bone by Craig Childs
"Craig Childs is full of rawness and spark, just like the dry southwestern deserts he loves…Virga and Bone is about those places and the people who need them, abuse them, love them, and take them for granted."
"A meditation on the beauty and value of the untouched corners of the Southwest."
"It's impossible to imagine another writer in America who is better than Craig Childs at elegizing the fearsome and confounding appeal of our most austere landscapes.:
—KEVIN FEDARKO, author of The Emerald Mile
"A man moves through deserts. He goes slow. And wild. He senses, absorbs—and writes. As always, Craig Childs takes us not only through the external landscapes of the huge and wondrous; he takes us into and through himself."
—MARY SOJOURNER, author of The Talker and 29
"I came to Virga and Bone for its beauty. I stayed for the songlines Childs spins among springs, badlands, ephemeral seas, and desert people 'present only for scale.' He goes deep into dry lands, digs into their desolation, finds water—or the memory of it—and lays bare a wealth of hard-won gifts. An arid, haunting feast."
—REBECCA LAWTON, author of The Oasis This Time
"What gives life and what remains after death are clearly legible in the arid lands of the desert Southwest. Craig Childs knows how to read the beauties and the grotesqueries of this landscape…Informed by science, Indigenous legend, and many nights spent in a sleeping bag tossed down on wild ground, Childs's explorations are a tall drink of water in troubled times."
—ALISON HAWTHORNE DEMING, author of Zoologies
"A desert koan, Childs's latest is still and restive, full of unresolved pairings and brilliantly so. His 1,000-watt prose is as alive as the heat that makes the Mojave tick."
—ELIZABETH RUSH, author of Rising
"Tapping into the spring that informed his acclaimed The Secret Knowledge of Water, Childs lets flow another volume of desert tales. Virga and Bone is a tribute to the orphaned landscape of the borderlands, where a bullet-riddled washing machine, an ancient potsherd, or the abandoned possessions of immigrants trekking north are the historical markers."
—GREG CHILD, author of Over the Edge
"In the actual Southwest, blemishes count as much as beauty. Character abides in both, which is how Craig Childs sees it. And to see the desert through his eyes is to glimpse its tangible, imperfect glory. This is a bright hard gem of a book."
—WILLIAM DEBUYS, author of A Great Aridness
"Reading Virga and Bone, I happily felt hot, dry wind coursing through my hair, desert dirt lighting in my skin pores, and the smell of campfire smoke permeating my eyebrows. Craig Childs is a master of bringing the outside inward."
—M. JOHN FAYHEE, author of Smoke Signals
"Few writers can better express the strange vitality of desert landscapes than Childs. The Southwestern panorama unfolding over the course of this beautiful book will stay with readers long after they close the pages."
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review