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Almost an Island
Travels in Baja California
By Bruce Berger
211 pp. / 6.12 in x 9.25 in / 1998
Paper (978-0-8165-1902-6)
Related Interest
  - Nature and Environment
  - Literature and Essays

Long frequented by pirates and haunted by pariahs, Baja California has become a favorite destination for whale watchers, hikers, and scuba divers. For Bruce Berger it has been more. In Almost an
Writing with the grace of nightfall, Berger knits a handful of chance encounters together with cultural and natural history to produce a crystalline, indiosyncratic portrait of Baja.

—Kirkus Reviews

Relaxed and amiable in tone . . . Lyrical.

—New York Times Book Review

An engrossing journal of fast-paced change.

—San Diego Union-Tribune

Island, he takes readers beyond the Baja of guidebooks and offers a wildly entertaining look at the real Baja California. Eight hundred miles long, Baja California is the remotest region of the Sonoran desert, a land of volcanic cliffs, glistening beaches, fantastical boojum trees, and some of the greatest primitive murals in the Western Hemisphere. In Almost an Island, Berger recounts tales from his three decades in this extraordinary place, enriching his account with the peninsula's history, its politics, and its probable future—rendering a striking panorama of this land so close to the United States, so famous, and so little known. Readers will meet a cast of characters as eccentric as the place itself: Brandy, who ranges the desert in a sand buggy while breathing from an oxygen tank; Katie, the chanteuse; nuns illegally raising pigs. They will encounter the tourist madness of a total eclipse, the story of the heir to an oasis, a musical Mata Hari, rare pronghorn antelope, and a pet tarantula. In prose as glittering as this desert engulfed by the sea, Almost an Island is a fascinating journey into the human heart of a spectacular land.

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