The first page of the book is an elegant appeal to the heart’s need for a special place:
This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of the red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront… .For myself, I’ll take Moab, Utah. …The slickrock desert. The red dust and the burnt cliffs and the lonely sky–all that lies beyond the end of the roads. (pp. 1-2)
But, before giving an account of the breathtaking Red Rock country, Abbey gives a word of caution:
Do not jump into your automobile next June and rush out to the canyon country hoping to see some of that which I have attempted to evoke in these pages. In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll see something, maybe. Probably not. (p. xiv)
After these two bites, it should be enough to give you a hunger to go out and devour the rest of this delicious mix of a book.
Acerbic, hilarious, fantastic. Go blow some shit up. 9 out of 10.