The Good Rain by Timothy Egan

Find in catalogAn older book, but well worth reading, especially for those in Oregon, and still relevant. Egan takes many small local stories of the Pacific Northwest, and without blending them creates an overall impression of a region. These are personal stories, not an account of scientific research or a policy study. He travels from the upper reaches of the Columbia down to Ashland, looking at the geography, history, the character of each place and listening to the residents. What emerges is his sense of sorrow at the loss of sweeping forests, the destruction of clean rivers, the degradation of Native American tribes.

The battles Egan recounts are still being fought, and the consequences even more apparent. But Egan is fair-minded and a touch hopeful. While the book came out twenty-five years ago, his epilogue seems prescient: he considers that we may be entering “the polyglot future of the Pacific Rim,” offering a chance for renewal.

Besides, the man has a sense of humor, Discussing tree plantations, Egan comments: “Their trees, green-housebred for maximum growth, are to the rest of nature what silicone-filled breasts are to a beauty contest. They stand out, but there is something…odd…about them.”

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