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Publisher's Summary

Kendra Atleework grew up in Swall Meadows, in the Owens Valley of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, where annual rainfall averages five inches and in drought years measures closer to zero. 

Kendra's family raised their children to thrive in this harsh landscape, forever at the mercy of wildfires, blizzards, and gale-force winds. Most of all, the Atleework children were raised on unconditional love and delight in the natural world. But it came at a price. 

When Kendra was six, her mother was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, and she died when Kendra was 16. Her family fell apart, even as her father tried to keep them together. Kendra took flight from her bereft family, escaping to the enemy city of Los Angeles, and then Minneapolis, land of all trees, no deserts, no droughts, full lakes, water everywhere you look. 

But after years of avoiding the pain of her hometown, she realized that she had to go back, that the desert was the only place she could live. 

Like Wild, Miracle Country is a story of flight and return, bounty and emptiness, and the true meaning of home. But it also speaks to the ravages of climate change and its permanent destruction of the way of life in one particular town.

©2020 Kendra Atleework (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Miracle Country

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The best memoir I've read

Kendra Atleework is a wonderful writer. Also, the reader on Audible of her book is a gifted reader making this a truly gorgeous listening experience. Even though this is a memoir it read like a true story novel. Kendra writes in a way that brings the reader into her family, her life in a direct way so that I never thought she was talking ABOUT her life. Besides the very interesting content, I felt like saying a prayer of thanks to all who have worked their skill to be able to write like this, express life like this and enrich us who read them by being eager to turn each page. It is the only audible book I listened to 3 times and I have about 450 books in my account.

2 people found this helpful

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Complicated, Beautiful

This book is a thoughtful telling of the author’s personal relationship with the Owen’s Valley as well the relationship this place has with its past inhabitants and the City of Los Angeles. I enjoyed the intertwining of past and present, personal stories and historical ones. I appreciate the time put into researching the history of her subjects and the juxtaposition they play in her own life’s story.

1 person found this helpful

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The best book I’ve read in a long time

History, poetic writing and a sorrow to leave behind when I finished it
.It will be difficult to find an equal for my next reading )s)

1 person found this helpful

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Best Memoir I have Ever Read - Remarkable!

This book - I don't have enough words of exultation to describe how much I love it. It is the best memoir I have ever read and I have read way more than a few! Kendra's writing is eloquent throughout the book and heart wrenching when she describes the death of her mother and the aftermath, each family member "torched" by the loss, but working through in his or own way. I have read it twice now and listened to it read by Cassandra Campbell (narrator of Help and Where the Crawdads Sing). Through smiles and tears I read sentences over and over just because of the gorgeous prose Kendra employs. The book is also a history lesson about the Eastern Sierra, the Native Americans who predated the first settlers, the water wars of California in the Owens Valley and specifically William Mulholland and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

More than anything, though, this book is a story about family and Kendra's unbreakable bond with her family and her home in the Eastern Sierra. It is an especially beautiful and touching tribute to her well deserving father, Robert Atlee.

“(My father) knows his place among what is larger and older than he, and it is knowledge of this role, of a human as something brief and potentially joyful, that he passes to his children, the way another father might pass on a prayer,” Atleework writes.

If you don't read another book this year, or if you add it to your queue, please read this one! It will have a long lasting impact on you I promise!

1 person found this helpful

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A reminder of why we love this place

A beautifully heartfelt, vivid and well written memoir. If you are a Valley Local, exceptional!

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Nevada

This is an excellent reading by the narrator but I am jarred every time she mispronounces “Nevada.” Other than that, I really like her voice and the story is excellent. You continually hear the excellence of the writing and the work that went into it. Brava!

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The Land and People of The Eastern Sierras

If you love the mountains and high desert and the people that call it home you will love this book. The author has described this land and it’s people in ways I have only felt, but not be able to put words to. A lovely emotional read.

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Someone I’d love to talk and hike with!

Miracle Country is a fantastic read both as memoir and environmental education. The author’s portrait of family felt so familiar in its gritty honesty through good times and hard times. Through the ebb and flow of relationship, their bond with each other remains strong due in part to the acceptance of very different life choices. The history of the Owens Valley was a real eye opener. I live 150 or so miles north of Bishop in the same topography - high desert along the Sierra rising abruptly to 10,000’ at my back door. What sticks with me most is our disregard for the natural state of this land in our profligate use of water. This is not rain forest but rain shadow here yet we use it as if it’s in never ending supply. The author’s depiction of the multi- year drought we’re experiencing and the misuse of natural resources is both clear and alarming. Her sense of home and place in our transient culture is encouraging and revives my own. Thank you, Kendra, for this wonderful book!
Note to narrator: It’s not Ne-vah-da...!😉

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Not what I expected.

Our family began vacationing in Owens Valley more than 30 years ago. When I read about this book and its supposed content, I immediately purchased it. It began well enough, with descriptions of the valley and its history. I learned things I hadn't been aware of before and long to visit Swall Meadows. As the story progresses though, the true nature of the book becomes apparent. The writer is of the mindset that whatever was done in the past, in the name of progress, is a "sin", like building dams, for instance. She paints a very critical portrait of Los Angeles, as a dirty city, where people who have no care for either nature or our neighbors to the north, who have pools in our backyards and lawns in our front yards, not caring about the water needed for their maintenance. Her description of Native Americans is also totally skewed; she portrays them as peaceful, nature loving people who've been robbed of everything they had. While I'm not saying that the Native Americans were treated fairly, let's be reasonable in our description of them, including the fact that many tribes were fierce warriors who were constantly at war with each other.
Our family loves nature and protect it; hiking and camping is one of our favorite things to do. God's creation is absolutely majestic, yet He asked us to use it to our advantage so that we could survive. We don't need to destroy dams, as the author seems to suggest; we need to build many more so that future generations may survive.

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So insightful

Incredibly written book and audio performance that weaves together a beautifully tender personal journey along with poignant crucial environmental history and facts...her words are evocative and jeweled.