Amy Irvine Sits Down With Rachel Hamalian To Talk About Edward Abbey, Writing, and The Desert

BookBar Tue, 11/27/2018 - 8:24am

Rachel Hamalain: In your new book, Desert Cabal, you confront the claims that Edward Abbey made in his book, Desert Solitaire – on its 50th anniversary. What inspired you to make this confrontation?

Amy Irvine: It’s a very odd backstory. So Back of Books, which is an iconic bookstore in Moab, Utah, is basically Edward Abbey Central. You can imagine that that’s where all of his greatest fans go. For the anniversary, they received permission to make facsimiles of the original manuscript of Desert Solitaire. It had all of his own hand-written edits on it. They were going to reproduce them and put them in a beautiful box and sell them as a commemorative collector’s item, and they asked me if I would write a little introductory essay or forward that they would include in it. I said, Okay, but why me? And they said, they want it to be a woman and you’re a sixth-generation Utahn, you’ve worked as a public lands activist, we think you’re the right person. I said you know I’m going to take him to task, right? And they said, yeah, based on your memoir, yes.


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