June 11, 1989 |
Disparate essays, written for various publications under differing circumstances, when flung together tend to vary wildly in quality. Certainly that's the case with this book. In his concluding section, sardonically named "Living Off the Fat of the Land," Page Stegner finds a raffish picaresque tone, immensely likable and jaunty, reminiscent of Steinbeck in "Cannery Row." He recounts in hilarious, self-effacing detail his attempts--with the help and hindrance of some friends--first, to buy and raise a cow for inexpensive beef; next, to hunt "wild boar," which turn out to be a neighbor's domestic pigs; and finally, to buy and operate a small fishing boat.
May 22, 1989 |
Edward Abbey died on March 14 at age 62. That evening, friends hauled the author of "The Monkeywrench Gang" into the desert and buried him under a big pile of black rocks, somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. Over the weekend, some of those same friends, accompanied by hundreds of others, walked into another part of that vast slick rock and cacti cemetery to celebrate the life of a man, who, more quickly than any writer since Jack Kerouac, has been resurrected as a modern myth.
June 4, 1989 |
John Burroughs was an odd sort of nature writer. Disdaining exploration and adventure, he stayed put in the gentle Catskill mountains of his birth. He would venture forth occasionally--Teddy Roosevelt asked him along on his presidential visits to the western parks--but he was invariably unimpressed. Yellowstone's geysers struck him as "out of place, as if nature had made a mistake," he suggested that their power be harnessed to heat the nearby hotels. When he visited Yosemite, he sulked till he spotted a robin, "the first I had seen since leaving home."
June 25, 1989 |
Read your way into the Massachusetts woods with John Jerome; out come echoes of Walden Pond and Tinker Creek and all those outdoor kindred spirits from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Abbey or Edward Hoagland. This is that fertile soil where, in Emersonian terms, the civilized creature leaves urbanity, dives into nature, thrashes among fallen leaves and finally unpacks the bags only to discover that the luggage of the other life is still important. Leaves, weather and landfall matter.
March 23, 1989
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of author Edward Abbey. I will not be able to think of the arid beauty of northern Arizona or Utah's Canyonlands without his writings coming to mind. I hope that his publishers will release the draft of his last novel. A sequel to "The Monkey Wrench Gang" will be welcomed with open arms. Thank you, Mr.
January 14, 1990 |
" . . . the damn thing is alive. When you finish, the tale lives on in your head, which is the most a book can do."
September 27, 2005
It was a true pleasure in this concrete mess to open the paper and read Ken Lamberton's essay on Edward Abbey ["His Preferred Immortality," Sept. 20], one of our greatest outdoor writers and activists. STEVE TYLER Orange
January 19, 2000
This Sunday: John Reader on "African Ceremonies"; Sherman Alexie on Ian Frazier's "On the Rez"; Jonathan Levi on Robert Olen Butler's "Mr. Spaceman"; and Douglas Brinkley with an appreciation of Edward Abbey on the 25th anniversary of the publication of "The Monkey Wrench Gang."
October 29, 1995 |
The cycle of extreme floods and droughts during the past dozen years illustrates how fragile is our hold on the water that sustains the West. It seems like ancient history now, but it was only a few years ago that drought busters roamed L.A. streets and issued citations for wasting water; California, Nevada and Arizona were denied Colorado River water for the first time; Lake Powell recorded its lowest levels from 1987 to 1992.
March 23, 2003 |
Wallace Stegner is so commonly referred to as "the dean of Western writers" that no one remembers who said it first. "Our great citizen-writer," said author Barry Lopez in a tribute to Stegner. "The only living American writer worthy of a Nobel," wrote Edward Abbey before the 1993 death of Stegner, whose frontline work with the Sierra Club and the government on environmental issues in the 1960s rounded out his literary reputation to include activist and savior of the West.