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 Books/Movies

Angels of Light

By Jeff Long


William Morrow, 298 pages


“Jeff Long has written a climbing Western, with philosophical overtones. Yosemite Valley provides the setting and much of the substance of his exciting and extravagant novel. This is not the Valley that seemed, to a member of the discovering party of 1851, to be a fit abode for angels of light, but the tourist-ridden, climber-infested scene of the last two decades. Long knows his Valley-dwellers well. And one of the pleasures of the book is his description  of their eating, smoking and sexual habits. (…)
The author also of the book Outlaw: The Saga of Claude Dallas, Long appears fascinated by those who live at or beyond the fringes of society. His climbers are essentially loners with shadowy backgrounds. Their social connections are fleeting, always subordinate to the big walls to which they are drawn. Long calls them fundamentally peaceful folk, but often they are suspicious of outsiders, coarse in sensibility as well as language, rough with women and hard to like.”
Steven Jarvis, American Alpine Journal 1988, p. 310-312


Angels of Light is the story of a Yosemite climber, John Dog Colorados, and his constellation of cohorts, circa 1980. One of the group lays claim to a drug smuggler's aircraft downed in Yosemite's high country. Given the squalid pecuniary status of the group, their subsequent pirating and sale of the contraband marijuana equals discovery of the Lost Dutchman's mine. Impossible? Perhaps except this one's based upon actual events. (…)
The hair-raising climbing scenes and unique plot qualify Angels of Light as an action novel, but it would be a mistake to limit the book to that classification. The real story is about people — and it is here where, because of length and exposition, the reader's attention is invariably drawn back from climbing drama to the characters. “
Jim Vermmeulen, Climbing 1987, October,  No 104, p. 120-122

 

“One of the most difficult aspects of writing fiction is making the characters come alive. Long has accomplished this and more; his understanding of his characters and their motivations make them real and believeable. Not that these are portraits of specific Valley locals — on the contrary. His intimate knowledge of the Valley and climbing has enabled him to create characters and situations to which the reader can anxiously relate. Bones break, skin shreds, blood spurts as one person after another meets an untimely fate. Certain rituals remain the same: the gear of the deceased is divided, climbing and life continue, never missing a beat. (…)
Given the limited market for climbing fiction and the rough language and drug references which may discourage mainstream readers, writing Angels of Light was obviously a labor of love for Jeff Long. He has given birth to the Great American Climbing Novel.”
Sally Moser, Rock & Ice 1987, July/August, No, 20, p. 70

 

 
See also
 Books/Movies
Defying Gravity
Big Wall Climbing
 Climbandmore special
Why Yosemite? Answers by Top Climbers
 Climbers
Jim Bridwell
 News/Last added
Smith-Gobat and Astorga's records in Yosemite Valley
Honnold links Half Dome and The Nose in 8h
Lee Cossey Sends Three El Cap Free Routes
The Huber Brothers Set Another Speed Record
Remarkable repeats of Free Rider
Second free ascent of Southern Belle in 18 years
 Routes/Crags
North Face of Rostrum, Yosemite Valley
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