Almost an Island
Bruce Berger is a non-fiction writer and a poet who focuses on the cross-section between nature and human culture. He first visits the Baja Peninsula in 1968. The first chapter of Almost an Island depicts this first trip from a time when the main highway was still dirt. The rest of the novel depicts some of the peninsula’s history as well as Berger’s anecdotes. He mixes natural history and culture to inform the reader what it is like to travel and live in Baja.
Almost an Island reads as creative nonfiction and comprises three decades of travel and living in the Baja Peninsula. Berger includes Baja’s history, when it was still unclear whether Baja was an island. Personal experience mixes with recent history as the peninsula transforms from a desert mystery to a travel destination for those seeking adventure and insight into the landscape’s mystique.
Much of the book takes place in La Paz; however, visitors to the peninsula will find familiar settings, or be inspired to seek out destinations due to new-found knowledge. Berger hikes the interior to find the ancient cave paintings. He visits or revisits locations for their natural wonder, such the Vizcaíno Desert for the animal life or Bahía Magdelena’s yearly whale migration. Almost an Island guides a reader to natural and cultural places on the peninsula in a way that encourages adventure, but also friendship with locals.