Booklist Review –
Issue: July 1, 2013
Hoffmeister, Peter Brown (Author)
Jul 2013. 272 p. Tyrus, hardcover, $24.95. (9781440562037).
(Starred Review – Novel Category):
Eighteen-year-old Tenaya was born in a car in Yosemite National Park, and he’s lived there ever since, camping illegally with his father and mother. A descendant of the valley’s original inhabitants, the
Yosemiti, he’s been schooled in the lore of his people: defeated by soldiers aided by a rival tribe, the Miwok, the Yosemiti were written out of the park’s history in all but name. But the past is present, and
when Tenaya falls in love with Lucy, a Miwok, he learns Lucy’s father has plans that may involve a second betrayal of the valley. With a defeated chief as his namesake, Tenaya feels destined to do
something about it. This fascinating novel is both an outsider’s coming-of-age story, an introduction to the so-called dirtbag lifestyle, and a deeper meditation on the beauty of the wild world. Can we own nature? Can we manage it?
The story meanders a bit, and a Samson-and-Delilah angle probably isn’t necessary, but the images, sometimes mythic, sometimes mundane, are unforgettable: a young man unable to leave a
heartbreakingly beautiful place, foraging in dumpsters while tourist children watch videos in their tents.
Passionately conceived, arrestingly original, this will be life changing for some readers.