IN THE SHINING MOUNTAINS: A Would-be Mountain Man in Search of the Wilderness by David Bird Thomson

IN THE SHINING MOUNTAINS: A Would-be Mountain Man in Search of the Wilderness

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Still another plaint for the Despoliation of the West, this one a numbing one-note (me-me-me) monologue. ""I always wanted to be a mountain man,"" Thomson begins . . . so he heads out West, grouses around ""Fort Capitalism,"" Fort Alcohol,"" and ""Fort Stinkpot,"" sets out to find ""some place that wasn't being overrun,"" hies himself into the mountains to build a cabin, discovers that cheap land is scarcer than big game, slips into some real ol' (italicized) mountain-man talk with alter-ego Big Gabe, meets up with a couple of bears and a herd of elk, and lucks into ""some of that real mountain man experience I had been looking for."" But: ""I was too late . . . I couldn't ride back into history."" So he trades in old Sixties (a car) for old Eighties to fight for what's left of the West. Shuffle the paragraphs around, shift them to another section, and for the most part no one would be the wiser--there's that little variety, direction, or development, just a log of what 'T' did up from minute to minute. A naturalist would have something to convey, a writer would give the narrative some shape; but this is no-effort noodling in furtherance of a pose that's basically as trite and shopworn as the figure of that ancient mountaineer, Old Gabe.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1979
Publisher: Knopf