Best of Edward Abbey, The
9 b/w illustrations
In 1984, the late great Edward Abbey compiled this reader, endeavoring, as he says in his preface, "to present what I think is both the best and most representative of my writing-so far." Two decades later, it remains the only major collection of his work chosen by Abbey himself, a rich feast of fiction and prose by the singular American writer whom Larry McMurty called "the Thoreau of the American West" and whom Alice Hoffman hailed as "the voice of all that is ornery and honorable."
Devoted Abbey fans along with readers just discovering his work will find a mother lode of treasures here: generous chunks of his best novels, including The Brave Cowboy, Black Sun, and his classic The Monkey Wrench Gang; and more than a score of his evocative, passionate, trenchant essays-a genre in which he produced acknowledged masterpieces such as Desert Solitaire. There is even an excerpt from a novel he was working on in 1984, eventually published as The Fool's Progress. Scattered throughout are the author's own petroglyph-style sketches.
Abbey went on publishing new work until his untimely death in 1989 at age sixty, so this new edition includes a selection of later Abbey: a chapter from Hayduke Lives!, the hilarious sequel to The Monkey Wrench Gang; excerpts from his revealing journals; a little-known account of a trip to the Sea of Cortez; and examples of his poetry. A new foreword by Doug Peacock-Abbey's close friend and the model for the flamboyant activist Hayduke-offers a fond appreciation of this larger-than-life figure in American letters.
Edward Abbey was born in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and first bummed his way west in 1944. His love of the desert took root during his undergraduate years at the University of New Mexico. After a Fulbright scholarship took him to Scotland, he lived mostly in the Southwest, except for brief stints in New York. He worked at many jobs - often as a ranger or fire lookout - until the success of The Monkey Wrench Gang allowed him to focus on writing. His best-known books include Desert Solitaire, Down the River, and The Journey Home.