When the great environmental writer Edward Abbey died in 1989, four of his friends buried him secretly in a hidden desert spot that no one would ever find. The final resting place of the Thoreau of the American West remains unknown and has become part of American folklore. In this book a young writer who went looking for Abbey's grave combines an account of his quest with a creative biography of Abbey.
Sean Prentiss takes readers across the country as he gathers clues from his research, travel, and interviews with some of Abbey's closest friends--including Jack Loeffler, Ken "Seldom Seen" Sleight, David Petersen, and Doug Peacock. Along the way, Prentiss examines his own sense of rootlessness as he attempts to unravel Abbey's complicated legacy, raising larger questions about the meaning of place and home.
Sean Prentiss is an associate professor of English at Norwich University. He is the author of Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave (UNM Press) and the coauthor of Environmental and Nature Writing: A Writer's Guide and Anthology. He lives with his family on a small lake in northern Vermont.
"The significance of Abbey in Prentiss's own life is revealed through precise but emotional prose. The effect is both grounding and electrifying."--Weekly Alibi
"Even for readers unfamiliar with Abbey or his writings, Finding Abbey's insights into this problematic man are compelling."--Seven Days
"Captures the true spirit of humans and our ability to mold ourselves into what we sincerely long to become through whatever life gives us on our own personal journeys."--Porter Gulch Review
"Prentiss offers fine, thoughtful readings of Abbey's writing, and he applies it judiciously to his life and ours."--Kirkus Reviews
"Finding Abbey is philosophical, poetic, a creative biography and a loving, evocative celebration of a controversial life."--Shelf Awareness
"Prentiss successfully demonstrates his ability to write an intriguing and compelling story that simultaneously informs, inspires, and entertains. His vivid imagery and unique interviewing style adds depth and passion to his search, resulting in an exceptional narrative that flows smoothly and conveys his admiration for Abbey and the American West. Finding Abbey is a journey well worth taking."--Foreword Reviews
"[Prentiss] locates and interviews Abbey's inner circle of friends, and in these faithfully recorded scenes his book . . . catches fire--including a conversation with Doug Peacock, the ex-Green Beret model for Abbey's monkey-wrenching Hayduke, who in real life keeps a .357 Magnum by his side. The final chapters of Mr. Prentiss's quest are suspenseful and winning. . . . Finding Abbey is a touching book."--Wall Street Journal
"Readers will find something to envy in Prentiss's exploration. While having all the makings of an expertly researched piece of narrative journalism, Prentiss also turns the magnifying glass on himself. What is most commendable about Finding Abbey is [Prentiss's] willingness to go the distance and explore, to think deeply about one of modern America's most outspoken critics, and to inspire others to look for what [Prentiss] rightfully calls 'a life worth living.'"--Vermont Sports Magazine
"If you are an Abbey fan, don't miss this book."--Wildlife Activist
"[Finding Abbey] brings us on a fascinating journey. Prentiss is especially able to describe in evocative detail the feeling of mountains and deserts and plains. He gives us an essence of the maddening, fiery, outspoken personality of Edward Abbey."--The Hardwick Gazette
"A worthy contribution to the Abbey canon. . . . Highly recommended for all interested in the American Southwest, environmentalism, and modern literature."--Library Journal
"This book isn't a biography; those have already been written. Finding Abbey is what you do in grief. Celebrate the life you shared. Analyze the faults. Peer into the darkness. Come out on the other side."--Santa Fe Reporter
"What's best about Sean Prentiss's [Finding Abbey] . . . is that the author loves and understands what made Southwest writer Edward Abbey tick, why Abbey's writing is so resonant and why he was--and still is--so important."--Durango Herald
"Prentiss reveals the power of Ed Abbey's lasting call to action, not just as a Monkey Wrencher, but also as an ethicist who lives by Ed's own motto, 'Follow the truth no matter where it leads.'"--Jack Loeffler, author of Adventures with Ed: A Portrait of Abbey
"In Finding Abbey, author Sean Prentiss presents us at once with an intriguing shotgun overview of the late southwestern literary cult hero Edward Abbey's life and work, interspersed with an intriguingly unfolding chronicle of Prentiss's own search for direction, meaning, and art in life. And best of all--what Abbey would like best--this book has soul. The somewhat sensational title, by the way, is merely metaphorical. Or is it?"--David Petersen, editor of Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey