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A B C D E F G H I
J K L M Mc N O P Q
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Item #: BK403-7652
LIGHTING OUT: A VISION OF CALIFORNIA AND THE MOUNTAINS Daniel Duane 1994 1st ed Paperback Paperback VG-Near Fine 2 Copies Available
By Duane, Daniel
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Detailed Product Description

Minnesota, 1994, 1st edition. 292 pp. Used Paperback,Very Good to Near Fine condition. 

This captivating debut offers a glimpse at the 'Generation X' counterculture on the West Coast. After completing a bachelor's degree in upstate New York, Duane fled home to Berkeley unsatisfied with the obvious next step of getting an MBA en route to Wall Street. Instead, he took a job at an upscale mountaineering shop that allowed him to pursue his newfound interest in rock climbing as well as a relationship with a New Age devotee. As his passion for the sport grew, he became fixated on the goal of climbing El Capitan, the big wall in Yosemite. The contrast between the slacker-climbing crowd and the New Age poseurs is enhanced by a wonderfully deadpan writing style that is rarely too technical for those unfamiliar with the sport.

In a sort of nouveau Dharma Bums, drifting in and out of Bay Area counterculture and the High Sierra, young Californian Duane combines a climber's journal with a memoir of the year following his graduation from Cornell. This writer hates cities and loves mountains so much that he dropped out of his junior year in Paris and headed for the Pyrenees instead. Rejected by grad school, having "failed at the Ivy League,'' he watches fraternity brothers get jobs at places like Salomon Brothers. ("Guys twenty-one years old wore the same suits as the broken-down old timers, both letting careers eat the whole middle out of their lives.'')

He heads west, gets a job in a mountain-climbing equipment store in Berkeley, his hometown, hangs out with his youthful but wise parents, former 60's civil-rights activists, and cautiously, gently begins an affair with Kyla, a feminist organic gardener at U.C. Santa Cruz who worships the Goddess and wonders if she's gay. In one scene, naked in a meadow, they eat guavas while making love. Seeking some kind of logic and order to his life, Duane, under the tutelage of his father and uncle, both of whom are middle-aged and in better shape than he, sets himself the painstaking task of preparing for, and climbing, the biggest and most dangerous rock in the Sierra, El Capitan.

On the granite faces of Yosemite, Duane's prose comes most alive. "As we slid down our ropes the hues of cloud and stone on Half Dome continued to shift, light and vapor painting and repainting the wall.'' In the arenas of sport and love, he learns patience, understanding, and how to confront his fear. Lively and engaging, if sometimes too earnest and self- indulgent, this is a good graduation present for those Generation X-ers who can afford to be non-materialistic these days. 


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