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Black Sun

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,457 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
BLACK SUN, a bittersweet love story, is about a forest ranger -- loner, iconclast, lover of the rugged life -- who falls for an utterly beguiling freckle-faced "American princess" half his age.

Like Lady Chatterley's lover, he initiates her into the rite of sex and the stark, hidden harmonies of his wild wooded kingdom and canyons. She, in turn, awakens in him the pleasure

Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Avon Books (first published January 1st 1971)
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Sep 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people obsessed with Edward Abbey and other such perverts
Recommended to Beverly 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
Kerri Anne
This book is going to be difficult for me to review. There are pieces of it Abbey could have done without (entire characters, in fact), and there are pieces that are simply stunning. Black Sun is apparently Abbey's personal favorite of all his books, and I get that. It's also one of his books that critics and readers (and critical readers) didn't dig, or didn't understand, or didn't care to in either regard, and I get that, too.

A month later and I can tell it'll be one that sticks to my bones f
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Tina Cipolla
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 20, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah (SB) ღ
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
A re-read,20 years later. I'm all atwitter.
Dec 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's no Desert Solitaire

No Abbey book has ever satisfied after that one. He writes beautifully, among the best, but just not my cup of tea
Adnama  Anderson
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Stephanie Costa
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Beautiful descriptions of the American West from the POV of a protagonist with my dream job (fire lookout) coupled with a weird, drawn-out sexual fantasy/tragic romance loaded with corny tropes. The writing alternates between gorgeous and cringe-y, and the plot is pretty predictable -- still, Abbey sucked me in and made me care about the characters, and I read this one quickly. Not a good starting point for anyone interested in Abbey (I suggest Desert Solitude, Monkey Wrench Gang, and The Journe ...more
Dec 27, 2008 added it
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
Donna Zalter
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. Can't say why. Just held me.
Eugene Miya
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Jacoby
I'm giving 4 stars to what The New Yorker apparently considered "an embarrassingly bad novel"—Edward Abbey's poorly received Black Sun. Readers who bailed on this novel early on must never have ventured forth into the wild, fallen in love with the woods, or breathed the cool air of the backcountry's morning after sleeping beneath its star-littered skies. I relived all of my high country adventures again and again in Abbey's delicious descriptions. As for the plot, I'm not much for love stories, ...more
Mark Wilson
A mixed success

As with all of Abbey's writing, the descriptions of nature are incredibly effective and evocative. I doubt anyone has ever surpassed them for clarity and beautiful precision. But his dialog and characters are the problem here: everyone thinks or talks the same, with a self-conscious lyricism that probably sounds good as a stage speech but has zero relationship to how people really talk. This flaw made it impossible for me to believe in, or care about, any of the characters. Plus t
Janine Wilson
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I absolutely loved "Desert Solitaire"; I think Edward Abbey is wonderful when he is describing nature and his love for it. But I don't think Abbey's relationships with women were as inspiring as his relationship with nature. In this book, the main character, Will Gatlin, works as a fire ranger, and becomes fascinated with Sandy, who is less than half his age. Abbey seems to find this relationship wildly romantic, but I felt sorry for Sandy, getting involved with this solitary man who had so litt ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, fiction, novels, own
I think I read one of Edward Abbey's non-fiction books a long time ago, though I can't remember the title. He has been on my authors to read for years. The e-book sale provided the access, and I really liked this book. The setting for this novel is the same part of the country in which "The Song of the Lion" by Anne Hillerman that I also just finished is. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Jaded man living in the wilderness as a fire watcher encounters a young woman looking for....something. Alternating chapters consist of nature descriptions and the jaded man or his friend pining for sex with women-folk, or having the same.

It was..not as bad as Hayduke Lives. Solid...2.5 stars, half out of stubborn affection for Abbey and half for the reminders of the Southwest wilderness.
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forest, desert, danger

There is a forest ranger who is used to being alone. There is a young girl, who shows him that the solitary life is not enough. The writing is straightforward, but lyrical. It shows you the beauty and the dangers of the desert in a haunting way.
Alex Veilleux
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Never thought I'd get so into a love story but I really enjoyed this one. Extremely poetic prose–even for Abbey–and scatterbrained chapter structure had me cruise through this book over a course of a weekend camping. Highly recommend it, its a very easy and enjoyable page turner.
John Benson
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was unlike any other Edward Abbey book I have read. It is a love story between a 19 year old woman and 31 year old fire-watcher. Most of the story is disjointed and doesn't work well. The story doesn't make sense in the end, either.
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Edward Paul Abbey (1927–1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views.

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
More about Edward Abbey

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