Aquarius Press/Willow Books/AUXmedia


Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures, & the Search for Heaven on Earth

Annette McGivney

ISBN  978-0-9985278-8-8


354 pages

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 led the author through her own life-threatening crisis. McGivney’s work on the book has spurred her to create a campaign that raises awareness about domestic violence.

Take this tour into Pure Land’s treacherous canyons. With unflinching courage, Annette McGivney investigates the deep shadows of tragic, cyclical abuse, where old wounds caused by family disintegration, tribal erosion, and cultural genocide continue to fester. But this journey is a healing journey. McGivney’s open-hearted compassion imbues dignity on even the most troubled of our species. A compelling, illuminating and important book. — Ann Cummins, author of Red Ant House and Yellowcake

Pure Land is a powerful tale of three very different lives from three very different worlds—including writer Annette McGivney’s own—which become became inextricably linked by the Grand Canyon wilderness, family dysfunction, and brutal murder. It is an absorbing, and at times a heart-wrenching read, in which McGivney tells of Tomomi Hanamure, a spunky, independent Japanese woman who repeatedly travels to America looking for self and adventure, eventually finding it in the wilds of Southwest canyon country and in Native American culture. Hanmure’s ultimate, shockingly violent death at the hands of a young Havasupai man in the idyllic depths of Grand Canyon is both tragic and ironic. In researching and writing the book, McGivney is forced to open and deal with her own emotional wounds festering from an abusive upbringing. Collectively, she does a masterful job weaving these life stories together making Pure Landflow for the reader as a compelling saga that underscores the inestimable value of nurture and nature in shaping lives—for good and bad—and in the end, the incredible healing power of family love and wilderness. — Thomas Myers, author of Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon

Pure Land is a beautifully written, richly woven, compelling story. I was riveted, had a hard time putting it down and when I did, couldn't wait to get back into it. At the end I didn't want to say goodbye to the people I'd met and the lives I felt invited to share. ​— Melissa Rhodes, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

In Pure Land, just as the Colorado formed the Grand Canyon, Annette McGivney shows how landscape and the circumstances of geography, politics and history formed the lives of Randy Wescogame and Tomomi Hanamure as well as her own. With such incredible compassion, deep insight, and crafted language, McGivney shapes her stories as richly as the landscape has shaped their lives.— Nicole Walker, author of Egg

McGivney weaves a raw, complex and riveting story, following the cliff edges of paradise and humanity. She brings closure to two families while stumbling upon her own painful liberation. — Tom Martin, author and council member, River Runners for Wilderness