Western Journeys

University of Utah Press, 2022. Available from Bookshop or Amazon.

Western Journeys is compelling, powerful, and important. The erasure that Goh wants to combat can only be addressed one word at a time. That is the power and the pain of recovery–it is slow but once the hidden gets pulled into the light it cannot be lost again. Each of these essays is an act of hauling the past into the present, of naming what many might prefer to ignore or deny.”— Jennifer Sinor, author of Sky Songs: Meditations on Loving a Broken World

“The writing in Western Journeys is gorgeous, alternatingly spare and lush, in explicating how Teow Lim Goh found her writerly voice as an immigrant enthralled by an American West built upon the legislated and violent erasure of non-whites.”—Michelle Liu, University of Washington

Book Info


In Western Journeys, Teow Lim Goh charts her journeys immigrating from Singapore and spending the last fifteen years living in and exploring the American West. Goh chronicles her lived experiences while building on the longer history of immigrants from Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, bringing various, and often new insights to places, the historical record, and memory. These vital essays consider how we access truth in the face of erasure. In exploring history, nature, politics, and art, Goh asks, “What does it mean for an immigrant to be at home?”

Looking beyond the captivating landscapes of the American West, Goh uncovers stories of the Chinese people who came to America during the exclusion era, the Indigenous peoples who have been written out of popular narratives, and the mountaineers’ merciless ambitions, among many others. She examines the links between the transcontinental railroad, the cowboy myth, and the anti-Chinese prejudice that persists today. These essays explore such subjects as the early efforts to climb Colorado’s highest peaks, the massacre of Chinese miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and the increasingly destructive fire seasons in the West. Goh’s essays create a complex, varied, and sometimes contradictory story of people and landscape that asks more questions than it answers.


Colorado Public Radio:: An immigrant’s ‘Western Journeys’ and her journey to becoming a writer with Ryan Warner, March 2023.

High Country News:: Teow Lim Goh & Chinese history of the West with Paisley Rekdal, January 2023.

Colorado Sun:: Teow Lim Goh’s “Western Journeys” grew from her earliest attempts at writing, October 2022.

Utah Public Radio:: ‘Western Journeys’ with Teow Lim Goh on Access Utah with Tom Williams, July 2022.


Hollywood Pilgrims (Colorado Sun):: On the stories behind the magnificent landscapes of the American West, from Hollywood westerns to Edward Abbey. “Nostalgia is powerful; it erases what is inconvenient for us to see.”

Related Essays

How Bearing Witness to Nature Helped Me Delve into History (Literary Hub):: On how my practice of observing nature sparked adventures into landscape and history, and how bearing witness to historical injustice led me to language.

Panels & Talks

University of Utah Press:: Virtual Book Launch and Conversation with Janalyn Guo, November 2022.

Montana Book Festival:: The Chinese Experience in Montana, September 2022.

Montana Book Festival:: Memoir: Craft, Content, and the Struggle with Self, September 2022.