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The Canyon's Edge: 02/19/21
The Canyon's Edge by Dusti Bowling was inspired by a tragic drowning during a desert flash flood. In Bowling's version, father and daughter both survive, but they are carrying the trauma of seeing a loved one gunned down in a restaurant.
Nora and her father go hiking in a secluded Sonoran canyon. It's the first time he has taken her anywhere since her mother died. He hasn't left the house either. The world is too unsafe, too unpredictable. He believes this out of the way piece of nature will be safe because there won't be people. He doesn't take into account the way a distant monsoonal rain can cause a flash flood.
The opening and closing of this novel are written in prose. The actual survival bit where Nora is separated from her father and she assumes the worst is told in free form poems. The poems are mostly short. They are all raw with emotion. Many of them mimic the shape of the canyon she is now struggling to escape.
Nora's time in the canyon can also be mapped on the road narrative spectrum. As the bulk of the novel is about Nora's survival on her own, she is an orphan traveler (FF). Her journey is through the wild lands (99) of the canyon in an effort to find her father and escape. The route, though, is through the labyrinth (99). While she and her father both face near death experiences, ultimately the experience is transformative, bringing them out of their extreme grief and making them ready to start living outside of their home again. Summarized, The Canyon's Edge is a poetic journey of an orphan through the wild lands via the labyrinth (FF9999).