The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 29, 2012

January 29, 1927

Edward Abbey (January 29, 1927 to March 14, 1989) was born in Pennsylvania, and later fell in love with the American southwest. He wrote ficiton and non fiction based on his experiences as a park ranger. Abbey was a Fulbright fellow from 1951 to 1952. In 1966 Abbey's novel The Brave Cowboy (1956) appeared as a movie, Lonely Are the Brave, which starred Kirk Douglas.

His Fire on the Mountain (1962) won the Western Heritage Award for Best Novel in 1963, and  we excerpt it below:

The long day in the desert sun had drawn a lot of water from my body. I squatted close to the spring...scooped up water...and drank...When the last tinkle of falling drops had died away I became aware of a deep and unexpected silence. The toads had gone silent, and the water seemed to run more quietly than before. Even the fireflies had disappeared...Looking around in all directions I could see nothing but the damp weeds,... the grand trunks of the yellow pines... I looked up...On the brink of the crag above the spring I saw a pair of yellow eyes gleaming in a sleek head...I stared up at the lion and the lion stared down at me....Paralyzed I waited for death to fall on me....My grandfather called...[T]he lion turned his massive head and with his yellow eyes looked blandly, without curiosity or fear, up the pathway. I heard the old man's boots scraping on the stones of the path, coming toward me, and at last the big cat stirred himself and rose and vanished, all at once.

Fire on the Mountain was a novel, but we know it is true, not just because of the quality of the writing but because it's author was perceptive enough to notice that "Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination." In other words the book rings true because it's author rings true. 

No comments: