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Black Sun

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,063 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Edward Abbey's first love was to write fiction, and as so many of his friends pointed out, Black Sun was his own personal favorite book. It contains some of his most lyrical writing, and it is unusually gentle and introspective for him.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Johnson Books (first published January 1st 1971)
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Bailed at pg.50. Even though Gatlin is 37 and the nubile college student is 19, it wasn't the age gap that squicked me out, but the fact that Gatlin is clearly a dirty old man. Maybe living in a fire tower for 6 months of the year makes a person nuts, or Gatlin's just an asshole. Hard to tell. The writing was choppy - it was like Abbey was going for "no more than 5 words per sentence" and that never sits well with me. Also I couldn't tell what was really going on and what were Gatlin's fantasies ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Bev rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people obsessed with Edward Abbey and other such perverts
Recommended to Bev by: Sean
This is a story about a dirty old man who lives in the woods. A very bright and psychologically healthy all-American girl attacks him out of nowhere and he has no choice but to fall in love with her. This is very easy because she is 19, has no discernible flaws except for slightly uneven teeth and goes hiking in little Catholic school girl skirts.
She disappears and then the main character who has many things in common with the novelist gets to experience many tragically romantic and romanticall
Absolutely loved it. A gentler Abbey, but still the dirty old man that he is with a great vocabulary and passionate hatred for organization, government, etc. Gritty.
Those of us from the Rocky Mountain states have always revered the late Edward Abbey for his famous memoir Desert Solitaire as well has his other non-fiction writings that testify of his love for the American west and his white-hot determination to preserve the beauties and bounties of its wilderness areas and to protect them from encroaching development. Black Sun is a slightly different kind of a work for Abbey-- a short, bittersweet novel with a cryptic ending and no particular respect for ch ...more
Sarah (SB) ღ
A re-read,20 years later. I'm all atwitter.
Tina Cipolla
I have been a fan of Edward Abbey since I read The Monkey Wrench Gang in college. I enjoyed Black Sun because it showed a different side of Abbey and frankly it reveals a truth about male experience that men hide about themselves until they are long married--that truth being that they become profoundly attached to their woman partner and losing her can have catastrophic consequences for a man.

Several reviewers have dubbed the main character a "dirty old man." How can Will be that at the age of
Mark Stevens
Will Gaitlin is a stone cold stoic, a self-critical ex-teacher who has practically gone feral. His sole responsibility is a big one, spotting smoke or forest fires from a tower, but it requires minimal human contact. He lets us in on scant information from his past. He’s more interested in the deer in the woods and the shadows.

Art Ballantine, who thinks nature is where you throw your beer cans, wants Gaitlin to come back to civilization before he dies. But Will Gaitlin isn't going anywhere. Gai
Amanda Anderson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The late Edward Abbey takes a detour here from his normal wilderness epics and tells a love story, liberally peppered with sex and passion. Abbey is one of the best writers about the natural beauty of the American West. Whether it is a journal of a summer spent as a ranger, a plea for conservation of natural resources, a tribute to the canyons and deserts or a novel about a whacky group of environmental activists, Abbey's reverence and respect for the outdoors distinguish his work. He is hard to ...more
Angela Gaskell
I thought this book was amazing and the reason being is that the story is so believable. While reading it I was inspired to begin writing my own book based on a very similar story I have in my mind and have experienced in my life. Abbey is a wonderful author. I believe that Abbey did a great job at recreating the emotions involved with a true love affair.

Some scenes are not appropriate for the sexually inexperienced person or love-deprived because the depth of the writing is discovered through
Stephanie Costa
This book has come alive for me partially because of the rich descriptive language and partially because I've been reading it on my walks in the burning summer sun. Will, the main character is a self-professed "old man" at thirty something, and he certainly does act, or at least think like and old man (Abbey was in his forties when he wrote it). The beauty of this novel is in the love story. If you ever had trouble describing infatuation or new love, let Abbey help you. And if you've never been ...more
After finishing this book, I read through some of the reviews of this and other of Abbey's books. Quite fascinating to me. It certainly appears you either love Abbey or you hate him. Not much in between.

Black Sun is classic Abbey and I enjoyed it immensely (although The Fool's Progress remains my favorite of Abbey's 'fiction'). Yes, he can be crass and vulgar. But the book is as honest as it is beautiful. It's a book of love plain and simple. Love for a girl. Love for the desert and the forests
Meh. Not much more than an extended MALE sexual fantasy. Guy lives alone in beautiful woods, cooks breakfast while watching the deer. Nubile 19 year old maiden shows up. They have sex all over the place. He is apparently in love, but will not give her any commitment. He stands in rugged, manly contrast to her smarmy, brutish, prep-schoolish fiance. Way too explicit in parts to recommend.

But it is Edward Abbey, who is funny and can write nature like no one else.

Note that I thought the love story
Donna Zalter
I loved it. Can't say why. Just held me.
I enjoyed this book. It was a fairly simple story of love and loss. My son is an Edward Abbey fan (we have to have conversations about why eco-terrorism is NOT a good idea!) and he really liked "The Monkey Wrench Gang" yet hated this one. I wasn't looking for any great philosophy of life, just entertainment, and I was entertained. It was a little descriptive of the sex! I'm kind of embarrassed that I bought it for my teenage son... I just knew Michael is an Abbey fan and picked it up for fifty-n ...more
I'm in love with this book in every way. Edward Abbey is a phenomenal writer, and it's a pity that his literature gets tossed aside because of the "ecoterrorist" themes in the Monkeywrench Gang. His imagery in Black Sun is like poetry: beautiful enough to make you cry. On the very second page I read the best coffee description in my life. I don't have the book with me right now, but it was something like, "he poured himself a cup of black, smoking, rich and murderous coffee." Brilliant.
A simple and lovely novel by the late and truly missed master of environmental essays. What is best is its honesty. The portrayals of sexual desire will be uncomfortable for many. But for those readers who recognize themselves as humans not bound by out-of-date moral strictures, it is eerily moving.
Mars Weston
I had a sudden yearning to read some Abbey and this little book got the job done. This is the wit and cynicism of Ed Abbey transposed into his own version of a love story. The result is a quick and entertaining read. I did find it similar to another one of his books (probably Fool's Progress) so I'm sure this story has its foundation in real-life experiences as well. I suppose the main character is pretty raunchy, but that's hardly a surprise if you're familiar with any of Abbey's other works. T ...more
Eugene Miya
My memory of this book is likely blended with Fool's Progress. I tend to like Cactus Ed's non-fiction more than his fiction.

Read it in the late 70s or earliest 80s.
Gosh. This is a sweet little love story, a quick read. I can see why some people take issue with it, being that the main character is almost 20 years older than his love interest, but I don't know, I think there's enough sweetness that that didn't seem to matter to me so much.

It makes me want to reach out to everyone I love and give them all hugs, to revel in what is precious while it's still here in my grasp.
I chose this book off the library shelf at random. Or semi-random - on a whim, I picked the first and last (more on that one later) books off the shelf in the fiction section of the local library.

I later found out this book was written in one month (NaBloPoMo, anyone?) by an author who was an environmentalist. Just the book for me...


I was intrigued by the writing style and depth of emotion and symbolism the author uses, but grew weary of the constant sexual references (not crude or ov
Not the best Edward Abbey. Kind of reads like a creative writing exercise. A novella about a failed college teacher who works as a fire lookout and who has a summer affair with a co-ed. He takes it much more seriously than she does. In the end, he can't say what she wants to hear and she runs off. Her fiancee shows up and punches him out. He goes looking for her in the Grand Canyon but only finds descriptions of nature. He ends up sitting in a coffee shop staring out a window. We don't learn wha ...more
Probably Abbey's poorest work. Or at least that's what I thought in 1979. The only book I read by him that I didn't like.
Mar 08, 2014 Bob marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Mentioned in Fire Season - Connors
Sophia Pandelidis
This was a beautifully written book, with wonderful imagery of both nature and love. Although quite heartbreaking, the conclusion felt fitting. It suited the story.
Abbey was born to write paperback romances. I just didn't realize it until I read this book. He's coarse, romantic, funny, and earnest. His sense of setting is impeccable, and his own convoluted life provides more than enough material to inspire his stories.

"Black Sun" puts all of Abbey's strengths and weaknesses on display. The plot is ordinary, the main character willfully vulgar, the prose wild, evocative and twisting, the dialogue poignant and often over-the-top.
Eric North
This is Edward Abbey's romance novel. Passionate and steamy, but with classic Abbey grit and blunt humor. His classic portrayal of the Western landscape is ruthless and dangerous, as well as incredibly alluring and romantic, which lend the story a deep contextual mystery and intimacy.

My rating would fall somewhere between IT WAS OK and LIKED IT--It was a paperback page-turner, easy to read and easy to envision--but I would probably consider this a good one-time read.
Just guessing at the date on this one too. Another unbelievably good Abbey novel, probably autobiographical. A heartbreaking story of a guy who can't commit, or at least not if it means he has to give up the solitude he needs to survive. Not a good way to live your live, but a great way to write a book. Reminds me a lot of "Desolation Angels" by Kerouac, though this one makes brilliant use of jumps forward and backward in time. A wonderful, quick read.
Jessy Osterloh
lacks imagination and pales in comparison to Abbey's other works.
Although the characters' names have changed, the story is the same: this novella seems to be a re-imagining of the main love story of A Fool's Progress. The version in Fool's Progress was unspeakably tragic - it is no less heart-rending here, but with a different ending. This begs the question - how autobiographical is this love affair, and how did it end in Abbey's life? A quick and tender read.
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Abbey attended college in New Mexico, and then worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service in the Southwest. It was during this time that he developed the relationship with the area's environment that influenced his writing. During his service, he was in close proximity to the ruins of ancient Native American cultures and saw the expansion and destruction of modern civil ...more
More about Edward Abbey...
Desert Solitaire The Monkey Wrench Gang (Monkey Wrench Gang, #1) The Fool's Progress Hayduke Lives! (Monkey Wrench Gang, #2) The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West

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