2017 15 Bytes Book Award (Finalist, Creative Nonfiction)
“Told honestly, ruthlessly, told lyrically, told philosophically, consistently entertaining, sometimes inspiring, sometimes tragic, describing how people here, other ‘Good Waterites,’ have survived, or have not, or struggle to, in this ‘otherworldly’ place—Holdsworth’s stories unfold seamlessly, are interwoven with his presentation of serious environmental issues, issues with which he has been involved firsthand and which he speaks of from his own personal perspective.”
—Carol Henrikson, Trinity College
“Holdsworth ranks among the West’s most distinctive voices.”
—Julianne Couch, author of Traveling the Power Line
"Holdsworth's discussion of land issues in the desert West represents the complicated nature of being local and concerned about the future of a place. . . . [W]hat he does best is give a voice to locals that's usually underanalyzed in western writing."
—Western American Literature
In essays that combine memoir with biography of place, Kevin Holdsworth creates a public history of the land he calls home: Good Water, Utah. The high desert of south-central Utah is at the heart of the stories he tells here—about the people, the “survivors and casualties” of the small, remote town—and is at the heart of his own story.
Holdsworth also explores history at a personal level: how Native American history is preserved by local park officials; how Mormon settlers adapted to remote, rugged places; how small communities attract and retain those less likely to thrive closer to population centers; and how he became involved in local politics. He confronts the issues of land use and misuse in the West, from the lack of water to greed and corruption over natural resources, but also considers life’s simple pleasures like the value of scenery and the importance of occasionally tossing a horseshoe.
Good Water’s depiction of modern-day Utah and exploration of friendships and bonding on the Western landscape will fascinate and entice readers in the West and beyond.