I've not read it for 15 years, but I have been thinking about reading it again. Abbey wrote this toward the end of his life, when he knew he was sick with some kind of throat ailment that killed him in 1989. The book is kind of a summary of his life, beliefs, and experiences, but reads like a well written novel, which it is. I prefer his essay collections (Desert Solitaire, Beyond the Wall, Journey Home are all highly recommended, especially if you dig Ma Nature)but consider Fool's Progress to be his best novel, along with his classic "Monkey Wrench Gang." The main character, like Ed Abbey himself, definitely has been called sexist and racist, but, in my opinion, it's too easy to jump to that conclusion without looking at the big picture. He loves sex, loves women, and thinks that there's too many people in the world. He loves his friends, hates his enemies, and gives each individual a fair chance. He refuses to gloss over sticky subjects like, say, immigration or overpopulation, and his innate distrust of institutions (both political and religious) often compelled him to poke a stick in the eye of some sacred cows usually associated with "environmentalism" (which is often associated with liberals), including feminism. Abbey himself was a bit of an anarchist who believed in the power and rights of the individual, so even if he sometimes comes across as sexist or racist, I consider him to be a pretty even minded, non judgemental person when it comes down to the individual. But lots of folks would certainly disagree with me. Hope you enjoyed the book.
posted 5 years ago. ( permalink )