Review: Desert Solitaire

I am tempted to describe Desert Solitaire primarily by analogy to other work, high concept style. It’s Classic A written by Great Author B.  I’m resisting that because that approach denigrates what Edward Abbey has written.  Solitaire captures ringing ideas with a unique voice.

Abbey’s book captures person, place, time, and outlook with clarity and power.

Ostensibly it is a memoir of Abbey’s two seasons as a park ranger in Arches National Park in Utah in the mid-1960’s. The text is not a diary. He is deliberately coalescing multiple years into a single progression, picking stories and moments to connect to larger truths, and capturing his time and outlook.

Beyond capturing himself and his times, he pays homage to the timeless and singular beauty of the high desert.  The blend of poetry and lore he brings to that homage tune Solitaire‘s song to the ears of the west and turn it into a siren call to desert rats and cowboy philosophers.

A must.

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