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Strong Hills [Kindle Edition]

Mac Griffith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

In this collection of essays, stories, and tall tales, Mac Griffith relays the news from the Colorado high country, news of local lives lived out over many years, sometimes with hilarity and sometimes with grievous loss. In the title story, he climbs a high peak with his sister as she continues to hike in the fresh shadow of her son’s death. In other news, a retired woman named Etta runs the trails and fires rocks at slob campers to help them learn better behavior. In these mountain stories, there are devils in machines, a grouse family trying to stay together, and a cat with a sensible life. Stories full of wonder at life lived in thin air. Griffith tunes his ear to the land’s own song.

Griffith also finds humor in some odd places, including hummingbirds that have lost interest in flowers, the theory of deep cleaning, and scientific advances in getting undressed. On his first mountain camping trip, he pulls a gun to defend himself against his own eyelash. An experienced fly fisherman, he teaches the reader how to use roadside flares in this most esthetically refined of sports. He discusses how to buy happiness and how to get hot babes, two entirely unrelated subjects.

Mountain “locals” are often escapees from someplace else. Griffith, in this collection of sometimes tallish tales, looks back to his childhood in the Deep South. He considers the origins in dirty ears for a legendary career in alligator wrestling. Griffith spent his childhood wading swamps (beautiful places) and visiting “insane asylums” (less beautiful), both opening windows sometimes hard to look through. He tells the story of a homely school janitor with a sweet spirit, with a plan for winning a beautiful English teacher, and with friends in high literary places. Mabel and June, proper old Southern ladies, friends forever, improperly squirt each other with pepper spray, crash the car, and throw up in Betty Smith’s tasteless flower garden.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mac Griffith lives in Colorado, in a small town high in the mountains. Mac skis from winter to spring. In summer and fall, he hikes and casts flies in the rivers where trout live. In between, he writes and reads and makes whatever money is required. Mac has written features for newspapers and magazines, and a novel, Lyric River.

Product Details

  • File Size: 306 KB
  • Print Length: 189 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615824161
  • Publisher: Basalt Books (June 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0053NZDRY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,288,907 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful essay on family, greif, and nature June 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written, deeply personal essay on a family dealing with the suicidal death of a young adult - the son of the author's sister. A brother - sister hike up 14,000 foot Rocky Mountain peaks provides the context for soul searching and emotional processing of a tragic loss. The setting and excursion allow for discovery of the experience from the point of view of family members (mother-son, brother- sister, uncle- nephew) as well as the broader perspective of natural development and evolution. This dark, troubling topic is lightened and brightened by exquisitly timed sparks of humor - always directed at the author's own perceived failings and foibles. A bit of drama provided by a high altitude thunderstorm and the macho competitiveness of recreational hikers maintains interest through the philosophical ramblings.

I would give this essay a 4 rather than 5 star rating only because of the slightly too frequent literary references. Although they are all timely and on point, I found that some detracted from the otherwise personal and compassionate portrayal of the grieving family and the healing powers of continuing to move through life in a spectacular natural setting. Put together with the forays into self-effacing humor, these intellectual distractions give the impression that the author was a bit frightened by his own deep caring and loss.

Overall, reading this essay was emotionally and intellectually satisfying. The author provides some excitingly quirky insights on the thought processes of how we all ride the roller coaster of life's highs and lows with some choosing to end the ride and others riding both extremes for all they are worth. I believe anyone grappling with the loss of a loved one would find these thoughts helpful and possibly soothing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and thought provoking read October 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this book of short stories Friday afternoon and was, sadly, finished Saturday afternoon. I wanted more! Every story made me think and made me laugh out loud. The author is hilarious without really trying to get laughs, but the way he tells about very common experiences is funny. Along with the laughs there were so many lines I want to remember because of the depth of emotion they made me feel, or the way they made me stop and think, that I am going to read it again. I could relate to every character even though they all came from different regions than I, and have lived different lives. This book made my weekend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read August 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This review is long overdue. From the very beginning, I found myself back in my home state, listening to familiar speech patterns, huffing a little on the steep part of the climb . . . well, huffing a lot, truth be told.

Unlike some reviewers here, I cackled with delight at Etta. Anyone who hasn't known an "Etta" at some stage in life has missed out on a lot. Colorado was full of them when I was a kid, and I could always depend on finding one to entertain me on a fishing trip with my Dad. Etta was my friend's Aunt Manny, ornery to the core, and I found myself urging her to hit him again!

What makes a truly fine writer? Many things, of course; but high on the list is the rare ability to make characters breathe, and live, and fail as well as succeed. The really vivid ones move into your memory and settle down in in a corner somewhere to stay. Mac Griffith's cast in this book have a cubbyhole in mine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Gem of a Book November 7, 2011
By Melanie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading this author is often like sitting beside one of his beloved mountain streams, listening to the water gurgle over the stones. When he's on, he's great--and I use that word advisedly. And he's on much more often than not. Love his use of the language, sometimes approaches the poetic. Love his ability to deliver profound personal insights so quietly, so matter-of-factly. I liked this book so much I immediately bought two more, The Great Eyelash Caper and Alligator Wrestling. I was not disappointed. My favorites in this book are Strong Hills...., The Heart of Winter, and Grouse Family News. Have to agree with a previous reviewer on Etta and her Cat, though. I also found it preachy in a reverse sort of way. Even Mark Twain must have had his bad days, though. I hope this guy keeps his pen to the paper.
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More About the Author

Mac Griffith lives in a small mountain town in Colorado; this high place sits under the western eave of the Continental Divide. Mac skis from winter to spring. In summer and fall, he hikes and casts flies in the rivers where trout live. In between, he writes and reads and turns his hand to the making of whatever money is required. Mac has written many features for newspapers and magazines.


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