Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Monkey Wrench Gang

from the book log (2/8/89):

The Monkey Wrench Gang
Edward Abbey.
1975 & 1985

George Hayduke, Bonnie Abbzug (no relation to the Senator [that is, U.S. Representative for New York’s 20th district, Bella Abzug]), Seldom Seen Smith (a jackMormon), and Doc Sarvis become eco-raiders. The term today might be eco-terrorists. They meet on a rafting trip down the Colorado which is led by Seldom. And they decide to do their best to rid the West of its cancer. Their ultimate goal is blowing out the Glen Canyon Dam. They don’t get to it during the course of the book, but you never know.

In the meantime they wreck a few billboards and a lot of earthmoving equipment, one and a half bridges. Abbey’s prose is sometimes verbose. On the first page — in one paragraph — I encountered 3 words with which I was unfamiliar: acedia, schmierkunst, and monovalent. He dint do much else of that — or I didn’t notice. But the adventure rollicks along pretty well once it gets going. Bonnie was rather two-dimensional, I thought. The tryst between her and Hayduke was predictable and briefly yucky. But the chases are great fun and I really liked the characters.

When I put up a DIR post I try to find the cover image of the edition that I read. In the case of The Monkey Wrench Gang there are several editions. I know I didn’t read one with an R. Crumb cover. If a cover depicts an incident or character from the novel I will incorporate the cover’s version into my reading. This may mean I will disagree with it. “That does not accurately portray that scene!” I remember not really having anything to go on with the cover in this case. I’m not absolutely certain the cover image included in this post is the cover of the edition I read but it matches my memory of an image that contributed nothing to my reading.

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