"A vigorously original retelling of the Samson and Delilah story set in Yosemite. Mr. Hoffmeister, an experienced outdoorsman and magazine writer, marvelously harnesses the valley's natural wonders... The avenging destruction wrought by both Tenaya and the natural world is captured with beauty and aplomb. Mr. Hoffmeister brings a new found sense of urgency to one of the Bible's oldest and strangest tales." Wall Street Journal
"This fascinating novel is both an outsider's coming-of-age story . . . and a deeper meditation on the beauty of the wild world . . . the images, sometimes mythic . . . are unforgettable . . . Passionately conceived, arrestingly original, this will be life changing for some readers." Booklist starred review
"In Peter Brown Hoffmeister's Graphic the Valley, you'll enter the life of Yosemite's 'other' visitors, the nomadic climbers and rootless drifters, fed by dreams, a wish to escape, or a native's desire to never leave his ancestral home. Hoffmeister's intimate knowledge of this place, this way of life, pulls you in, ensnares you in the struggle to protect Yosemite from itself. But, more than that, you'll live with these people, feel the exhilaration of new love, the crushing pain of its loss, become a young man searching for who he is, all amid the valleys, domes and rivers of one of the world's most beautiful places." Pete Fromm, author of Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness
"The narrator's Yosemite is a sacred place . . . captured in Hoffmeister's lean, immaculate, and devastating prose." River Donaghey, VICE Magazine Contributor
"Peter Hoffmeister is as ambitious as he is original. Graphic the Valley is many things at once: an ode to a place, a romance, a family drama, and a cautionary tale. From page one, it will surprise you. By the end, it will leave you surprisingly affected." Miriam Gershow, author of The Local News
"Part The Jungle Book, part The Monkey Wrench Gang . . . Graphic the Valley is worth a visit. A . . . compelling narrative." Willamette Week
"An excellent coming-of-age debut novel. [Hoffmeister] skillfully interweaves the story of modern-day life in Yosemite with the the area's turbulent and tragic history . . . The book's sense of place is strong, capturing Yosemite's wild beauty. Both adult and mature young adult readers and lovers of literary ecofiction will enjoy this fast-paced love story." Library Journal, Starred Review
"With refreshingly fundamental first person narration and unusual character development . . . each page of this novel illuminates its reader's imagination with both tenacity and innocence." Publishers Weekly
"The book draws together rock climbing, an attempt to correct the wrongs done to Native American history in Yosemite National Park, a Samson and Delilah tale, eco-sabotage and the tragedy of what man does to nature. Hoffmeister's characters are complex and . . . reflect the duality and the power nature holds over man." Eugene Weekly
"This epic-style tale contains historic renderings of the Mariposa Battalion's invasion in 1851, the flood of 1997, the Lodestar crash and climber involvement, and old Chief Tenaya's death over a bad horse deal." Rock and Ice
"Graphic the Valley, the debut novel by Eugene’s Peter Brown Hoffmeister, is as bold as its biblical inspiration. Hoffmeister’s ability to convey the small and vital moments of this personal trial that leaves a grand impression.” The Register-Guard
As featured on NPR.
A couple illegally inhabits the Yosemite valley in camps and debri shelters, bearing and raising a child who grows to be a new type of Native American in Hoffmeister’s debut novel. At the age of 19, Tenaya has never left Yosemite. He was born in a car and brought straight to the valley, educated with stories from books and his father’s mythical-sounding memory. He learns how to survive in the wilderness with nothing but himself. But when he takes a job clearing slash off the Tioga Road and meets Lucy, a secret relationship blossoms which leads to pregnancy and a controversial public engagement. The couple’s dreams turn sour as both families manipulate the young bride and groom during marriage ceremonies to embarrass the other side, escalating towards violence and ending in tragedy. Tenaya is left with the responsibility of protecting his beloved valley, where construction and contracts are moving in to create a theme park and destroy his home. With refreshingly fundamental first person narration and unusual character development, stripped in knowledge and language of anything but the necessary, each page of this novel illuminates its reader’s imagination with both tenacity and innocence. (July)
Born in a car and named after a Yosemiti tribal chief, Tenaya lives with his parents in the backcountry of the Yosemite National Park, surviving by fishing and scavenging for leftovers thrown away by tourists. Educated by reading books left behind by campers, Tenaya is also taught by his father to appreciate the oral history, traditions, and legends of their Yosemiti ancestor. While working with a park crew, Tenaya meets Lucy, a descendant of the rival Miwok tribe. Ultimately, he must choose between his love for Lucy and the traditions he values.
Verdict The author of the acclaimed memoir The End of Boys and award-winning fiction collection Loss has written an excellent coming-of-age debut novel. He skillfully interweaves the story of modern-day life in Yosemite with the the area’s turbulent and tragic history in the 1850s when Native Americans lost control of the land, but the author’s attempt to link Tenaya and Lucy to the biblical story of Samson and Delilah is a bit heavy-handed and unnecessary. Still, the book’s sense of place is strong, capturing Yosemite’s wild beauty. Both adult and mature young adult readers and lovers of literary ecofiction will enjoyed this fast-paced love story.Russell Michalak, Goldey-Beacom Coll. Lib., Wilmington, DE
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