Thanks to Katy at A Few More Pages for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.
Today we’re taking a look at a biography of Edward Abbey.
The more Abbey I read, and love, the more I want to know about the man. Do you do this? My interest in an author of nonfiction invariably turns to the author himself (or herself). I’ve been looking for a few Abbey books, in this case. This was the biography I chose. I also have a copy on the way of Doug Peacock’s Walking It Off. Peacock was the inspiration for Abbey’s fictional character Hayduke, of The Monkey Wrench Gang, and his book is a reminiscence of their relationship. But that’s another post.
Cahalan’s biography of Abbey begins, in the introduction:
This is a book in which I seek to separate fact from fiction and reality from myth. At the outset, I have to tell readers that Edward Abbey was not born in Home, Pennsylvania; he resided in several other places before his family moved close to Home. And he never lived in Oracle, Arizona.
Already I’m learning things. I had already observed, as Cahalan continues, that Abbey claims a birth in Home and a late life and death in or near Oracle. These place-names are nicely symbolic, which has to have appealed to him, and his PO Box in Oracle helped to deflect some of the fans who pursued Abbey in his later years and who he (understandably, I think) wished to avoid. But who knew he fudged the truth so hard, and so early on, and in such relatively unimportant details? (There will be another post here soon about the friction between fact and nonfiction writings.)
I’m really excited about this biography, as I’m excited about Abbey in general and also debunking biographies in general. And I love that in the short introduction, Cahalan mentions Hemingway, riding bicycles, and the ill-fated trip through Big Bend with his then-fiance that Abbey writes about in The Journey Home – three things I love.
What are you reading this week? And are you excited?