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Black Sun Paperback – April, 1991
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Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, Unabridged
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From the Publisher
6 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Black Sun is a bittersweet love story involving an iconoclastic forest ranger and a freckle-faced "American princess" half his age. Like Lady Chatterley's lover, he initiates her into the rites of sex and the stark, secret harmonies of his wilderness. She, in turn, awakens in him the pleasure of love. Then she mysteriously disappears, plunging him into desolation.
Black Sun is a singular novel in Abbey's repertoire, a romantic story of a solitary man's passion for the outdoors and for a woman who is seeing the natural world's true colors for the first time. "Like most honest novels, Black Sun is partly autobiographical, mostly invention, and entirely true. The voice that speaks in this book is the passionate voice of the forest," Abbey writes, "the madness of desire, and the joy of love, and the anguish of final loss."
Edward Abbey spent most of his life in the American Southwest. He was the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the celebrated Desert Solitaire, which decried the waste of America's wilderness, and the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, the title of which is still in use today to describe groups that purposefully sabotage projects and entities that degrade the environment. Abbey was also one of the country's foremost defenders of the natural environment. He died in 1989.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Maybe I just did not get it,
maybe Abbey was in a dark place at the time.
It would be a good book foran essay in an English Lit class.
Abbey's descriptions of fire lookout and the work there are outstanding and I loved it. The whole romance narrative (and I'm somewhat reluctant to use that word) would have ruined the book if it were not for the ending. The ending is pure, Edward Abbey magic but I intend to reveal no more. It is worth the read.
(BTW: Good backpack book. Light, paperback, and fits the surroundings)
So I don't usually write reviews, but I can't help it with this book because every review I read of it seems to miss what I felt was the point of the book. Hey, maybe I'm wrong, but until I came to this conclusion I honestly thought this book was pointless, and perhaps even a little embarrassing for such a fantastic writer. Some passages had me asking, really? Isn't he just a bit ashamed of this obvious old man fantasy or whatever? And then I realized I'm only a year younger than the main character so perhaps I might want to think a little deeper.
Hitting my mid-30s honestly does feel a little old. Not because I am truly old, but I'm not young anymore. And I think that is really what this is all about. A man, over the hump of youth, has a few kids, an ex-wife who no longer inspires him, has grown world weary and tired of the repetition of history, etc. etc. Retreat to the woods to get away from it. And along comes youth. The intoxication of youth, the memory of who we all once were when the world was big and amazing and new and our whole lives were ahead of us.
In this way, Sandy is a merely a representation of the most basic of the elements of youth - innocence, physical ability, virginity, curiosity, recklessness, needing direction from those older, etc. And Will is the washed up older guy who forgot all of that, but in becoming her teacher, so to speak, he could almost - almost - relive a youthful experience. Feel alive again.
And this is why he doesn't marry her, doesn't commit. As much as he loves her, or whatever it is he feels - the nostalgia, the inspiration - he knows where it's going. She'll have children, age and then end up right where he is. Where we all end up. And then what? Will he start over with another young one and play it out all over again? And again?
Contrast this with Ballantine's rants about women, and you can kind of see what his general views on this were as an older guy who was unhappy in a world where women were asking to be more than wives...the subservient younger type is his type.
Anyway, so she disappears in some sort of metaphorical way to explain that at age 37, like it or not, youth is OVER. Sorry people, it is. Sandy is gone because that time has gone. It's telling that at the end he jokingly orders hemlock at the restaurant. (Also, that type of woman is on the way out. They're "liberated" now. How Abbey squirms at the thought of a liberated woman - in more than just this book.) Sandy (aka his youth) is over, so why bother anymore? What more is down the pike from here? Just more aging. The inspiration of youth will never return. That, everyone, can be true despair. Man it's tough seeing more behind you than lies ahead!
Am I right? I don't know. But it made sense to me. We can never go back, not even with a younger lover. Everyone ages. It's extremely pessimistic but it is the only way I can explain this book to myself. If it's not this, then it's just a dumb story about a boring middle aged man going through a mid-life crisis who had a lucky fling with a beautiful young girl and then she left and who knows what happened to her and now he's sad, waaahhhh.
Most recent customer reviews
A kind novel about the loneliness of an older man who enjoys his solitude in his forest home.Read more