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Car Camping: The Book of Desert Adventures Paperback – December 4, 2005
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?"Car Camping is a wonder of a book, a true joy to experience. Mark Sundeen's prose is sparse yet the images he creates are alive and infinite. The narrator's specialty is having adventures and we are enveloped and swept up by these adventures and become an integral part of them and we too become adventurers. Mark Sundeen is a stunningly wonderful writer. This is a book to be savored and remembered.? --Hubert Selby, Jr., author of "The Willow Tree and "Last Exit to Brooklyn
"A riotous, beautiful, totally original road novel masquerading as a travel book. Sundeen's America, comprised of equal parts Gorgeous and Awful, absolutely shimmers with life. The prose is pure, wild, naive, and poetic; the characters leap off the page in their dunderheadedness and sincerity. A brilliant and auspicious debut." --George Saunders, author of "Pastoralia and "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
From the Back Cover
He's like Huckleberry Finn.
He's a twenty-two-year-old housepainter living at his parents' house in Southern California, across a four-lane street from a gated subdivision. Now this suburban innocent is striking out on the only type of adventure he can afford: he's getting into his station wagon and going camping in the desert.
Join Mark Sundeen on his rumble-tumble journey across the Southwest, and find that the mythical home of Butch Cassidy, Chief Cochise, and Major John Wesley Powell has been transformed into something entirely strange yet unexpectedly familiar. It's a new West of low-rent trailer parks and high-dollar houseboats, of hot-springs singles scenes and beachfront ghost towns; a haven for pot growers and junk collectors, homeless river guides and hapless soul-searchers, for sun-beat old-timers chewing the cud of the land and survivalist teenagers hiding out from the Man. It's a place far from the America you thought you lived in, but close enough to drive to in your car.
Car Camping is a modern-day western adventure in the spirit of Mark Twain and Jack London, and you're invited to come along.
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Paperback : 254 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0595378250
- ISBN-13 : 978-0595378258
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.58 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : iUniverse; 0th Edition (December 4, 2005)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,847,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Read this. Especially if you're familiar with Utah (Moab particularly) and the southwest. It's a quick read with some downright philosophical elements and the right balance of questioning and happiness.
This book and author could use some more attention! (I'm definitely going to pick up The Making of Toro , another of Sundeen's.)
"I wanted ... life to rush through me as fast as it arrived, not caught up on thoughts or thinking." (13)
"You only get a certain amount of space in this life, ... and most people just fill it up with fancy junk and clever ideas" (23)
"Everyone thinks they want to be free. ... But they don't know what freedom is, and if they had it, they'd be terrified. They just want everyone else to think they're free." (41)
"I wanted to get back to the desert. Then it would all be all right." (150)
"You can never be nowhere. No matter how hard you try. Not even in the middle of the desert. The further you get from one place the closer you are to someplace else, and when you try to drop out of the world altogether you'll find that wherever you land is still a part of it. There will be people there who make things just as complicated as the things you were trying to get away from." (205)
This is probably not a book to lend to "sweet Aunt Helen" as just about everything would distress her except some of the interesting bits of history woven into the adventures Mark is on. My suggestion is to pop open a beer, sit out in the sun and take the trip with Mark. Just don't expect to be an expert camper when you finish.
I can't believe some people that reviewed this book didn't like it because they thought it was a travel book like Fodor's Guide to the Desert or something like that. How did they get that idea? Just read the back flap and you know what the book is about. If you want a Fodor's guide, go somewhere else. But if you want a great novel in the vein of On the Road or Travel's With Charley, buy this book!
While Sundeen's second book, "The Making of Toro", seems to have recieved more press, and is a noteworthy endeavor in its own right, "Car Camping" is the greater achievement of the two. It left me with an inexplicable sadness at the absence of adventure in most of our lives, but also a sense of tremendous excitement toward the enormous reservoir of possibility beneath the seemingly mundane details of the spaces we inhabit.
I'll go overboard a bit and risk sounding like a fool when I say Sundeen strikes me as being, perhaps, a visionary. Read this book!