Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Riders of the Purple Sage - by Zane Grey

Zane Grey wrote dozens of Westerns. He is known for his descriptions of the physical beauty of the West. That may seem odd, but even if his descriptions are more adept than his plot, his novels are much loved. I went through a Zane Grey phase and while I am not passionate about his works I understand why an octogenarian friend reads them over and over. 
Her clear sight intensified the purple sage-slope as it rolled before her. Low swells of prairie-like ground sloped up to the west. Dark, lonely cedar-trees, few and far between, stood out strikingly, and at long distances ruins of red rocks. Farther on, up the gradual slope, rose a broken wall, a huge monument, looming dark purple and stretching its solitary, mystic way, a wavering line that faded in the north. Here to the westward was the light and color and beauty. Northward the slope descended to a dim line of canyons from which rose an up-Hinging of the earth, not mountainous, but a vast heave of purple uplands, with ribbed and fan-shaped walls, castle-crowned cliffs, and gray escarpments. Over it all crept the lengthening, waning afternoon shadows. 
By far his most popular work is .89 cent Riders of the Purple Sage (Free UK edition) (Free Deutsch edition). There are some free Zane Grey books, but none are the better known. 

I found an interesting quote about Grey's depression.
“A hyena lying in ambush—that is my black spell! I conquered one mood only to fall prey to the next…I wandered about like a lost soul or a man who was conscious of imminent death."
I had not known about his "hyena." Apparently, as with many writers, his characters are the ones who live happily ever after.

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