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Pure Land

A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures and the Search for Heaven on Earth
Narrated by: Christine Marshall
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Pure Land is the story of the most brutal murder in the history of the Grand Canyon and how McGivney's quest to investigate the victim's life and death wound up guiding the author through her own life-threatening crisis. On this journey stretching from the southern tip of Japan to the bottom of Grand Canyon, and into the ugliest aspects of human behavior, Pure Land offers proof of the healing power of nature and of the resiliency of the human spirit.

Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese citizen who loved exploring the rugged wilderness of the American West, was killed on her birthday, May 8, 2006. She was stabbed 29 times as she hiked to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian reservation at the bottom of Grand Canyon. Her killer was an 18-year old Havasupai youth named Randy Redtail Wescogame, who had a history of robbing tourists and was addicted to meth. It was the most brutal murder ever recorded in Grand Canyon's history. Annette McGivney covered the tragedy for Backpacker magazine where she is Southwest Editor and she wrote an award-winning article that received more reader mail than any story in the last decade.

While the assignment ended when the article was published, McGivney could not let go of the story. As a woman who also enjoys wilderness hiking, McGivney felt a bond with Hanamure and embarked on a years-long pursuit to learn more about her. McGivney traveled to Japan and across the American West following the trail Hanamure left in her journals. Yet, McGivney also had a connection to Wescogame, Hanamure's killer, and her reporting unexpectedly triggered long-buried memories about violent abuse McGivney experienced as a child.

Pure Land is a story of this inner and outer journey, how two women in search of their true nature found transcendence in the West's most spectacular landscapes. It is also a tale of how child abuse leads to violence and destroys lives. And it is, ultimately, a story of healing. While chronicling Hanamure's life landed McGivney in the crime scene of her own childhood, it was her connection to Hanamure - a woman she did not know until after Hanamure died - that helped McGivney find a way out of her own horror.

©2017 Annette McGivney (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Pure Land

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  • Portsman
  • 02-02-2018

Compelling story about Tomomi, too much personal

The author and reader are great at telling Tomomi's at once heartbreaking and compelling story; she was an amazing young lady.
Unfortunately, the author adds to this book another story- that of her own childhood trauma- and how Tomomi's story led her into treatment of that trauma. This second tale is likely one that needed to be told and others can learn from it, but I felt it took too much away from the main story about Tomomi.

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  • Honeybee
  • 27-05-2018

Wow- this is a powerful, complex story!

The complexity and beauty of this story is riveting and profound. It touches on all the things in life I love: outdoor expeditions into wilderness, dogs, psychology of criminality, cultural history, and in particular learning more about the people who lived on the land that I call home before it become the United States.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BeachBabe
  • 29-03-2018

Moving and Insightful

This is a tremendous piece of journalism and writing. It is a multi-layered, depthful inspection of trauma and healing power of Nature. Trauma on both huge cultural levels and small personal levels. The book is not depressing, however. It is heartfelt, compassionate and uplifting. It is educational and Insightful as well. I am deeply impressed with the author's intelligence and heart. I heard an interview with her on the "Once Upon a Crime" podcast last week and immediately purchased the audiobook and devoured all twelve hours over a couple of days. Thank you, Annette. Your book is a service to humankind.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-02-2018

Compelling stories

The book began with three separate compelling stories and tied them together in a fascinating way. The narrator was annoying in the way she would "sing" the last syllable in a sentence. Definitely worth listening to, especially for those who have experienced trauma.

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  • Elena
  • 01-10-2020

Absolutely worth the time investment!

What an incredible story weaving together three intertwined personal narratives. The interview clips at the end were a nice addition. Wish that the entire interviews had been included, though. The random fade outs mid-sentence was awkward. My only other complaint is the narrator mispronouncing so many words. “Sah-gwaroh” for saguaro, for instance. Or “Cocoa-nee-no” for Coconino (pronounced Coh-kah-neen-oh). Was a bit annoying, but the book itself was fantastically written and worth the time investment. As one who was born, raised, and has lived in Arizona most of my life the settings all across my home state was all the more special. This book makes me want to meet Annette and wish I had met Tomomi before she was taken from this world far too young. I identified with Annette and Tomomi on a profound level.

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  • Ela B.
  • 01-08-2020

Must-hear story let down by awful narration

An incredible story that is multi-stranded and keeps revealing.Timely and poignant BUT the worst narration and Audible edit imaginable. I am not usually persnickety with the choice of narrators but this was an abominable reading by anyone's standards. Banal in tone with strange modulations and inflections, made worse by the choppy editing to the extent that you have to make a conscious effort to ignore. What a shame. The bonus interviews are a treat.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-2020

great book, narrator didn't research names

loved the book but I'm locally biased and knew the premise and wanted to learn more. as a local it was glaringly obvious the narrator/married and company didn't do enough research. there are some names that are mispronounced that are very obvious and well-known. example is the pronunciation of supai. another example is the pronunciation of Randy's last name.

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  • J. Picard
  • 15-01-2020

Too much self help

I was really enjoying the story until the last part of the book where the discussion turns to the authors plight and enlightenment around her own history of child abuse with her father situation. For me, the book became too much about the authors suffering moving away from the story of the murder which was my primary reason for reading the book. There are several duplication errors in the audible version and that is disappointing.

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  • Thedodore R. Quasula
  • 22-10-2019

Incredible - a must read!

The author obviously put her heart and soul into researching and writing this book. The vivid details are astounding. Very touching and a tragic ending for many.

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  • me
  • 13-09-2019

Good story but narrator does not do it justice

As someone who has lived and worked with all the mentioned Tribes it is very painful to listen to this narrator butcher native terms and surnames. The story is great but it is like nails on a chalkboard listening to her mispronounce important terms and names. It is a shame, as well as disrespectful, that she did not take the time to research pronunciations as these words are essential to the story. I can only imagine how badly she butchered the Japanese names, locations, and words......