Graphic the Valley
by Peter Hoffmeister
“Passionately conceived, arrestingly original, this will be life changing for some readers.”
—Booklist (starred review)
Tenaya has never left the Valley. He was born in a car by the Merced River, and grew up in a hidden camp with his parents, surviving on fish, acorns, and unfinished food thrown away by the park’s millions of tourists. But despite its splendor, Tenaya’s Yosemite is a visceral place of opposites, at once beautiful, dangerous, and violent. When he meets Lucy, a young woman from the south side of the park, Tenaya must choose between this new relationship and the Valley, terrorism and legend, the sacred versus the material.
In this riveting debut novel, the Yosemite Valley becomes the object of a graphic world where mythical strength, worldly greed, love, lust, and epic destruction come together.
Peter Hoffmeister is the author of LET THEM BE EATEN BY BEARS: A Fearless Guide to Taking Young People Into the Outdoors (Perigee, 2013) and his memoir THE END OF BOYS (Soft Skull, 2010), and is a writer for The Huffington Post, Climbing Magazine, Rock and Ice Magazine, Gripped Magazine, among others. His fiction collection, Loss, won the 2006 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship, and his essay, “How to Break Up With Your Climbing Partner”, won the Rock and Ice National Bloggers’ Brawl. He’s been rock climbing in Yosemite for the past decade, and is a dirtbag, raft guide, teacher, and survivalist.
“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)
“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)
“…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 to convey Tenaya’s strange magnetisim toward primal violence…”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Peter Brown Hoffmeister knows landscapes and bear scat and mountain lions and native legends, the interiors of hitchhiker cars. He is also a man who is inventing language, whose words bring to mind James Joyce. InGraphic the Valley, he gives us a possession story and an anti-possession story, a tale about control. Tenaya—a young man without so much as a birth certificate, a young man who has never left the valley and yet has no rights in it—must find a way to save what he loves. And Hoffmeister makes us eager to find out. He’s an exceptional writer, this Hoffmeister, but he’s not an easy one. Easy doesn’t interest him. And I am glad for that.”
—Beth Kephart, National Book Award finalist
“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
“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 moved.”
—Miriam Gershow, author of The Local News
“Author and climber Peter Brown Hoffmeister has woven history, adventure, family, and tragedy into a gripping story set in one of America’s most legendary climbing epicenters. Bold, colorful characters and stark prose carry the plot of this singular novel that accelerates all the way to the last page. Hoffmeister has clearly spent his life studying Yosemite, climbing its cracks, walking its trails, exploring its caves and learning its human history. A wonderful read for anyone who’s spent time in the Valley — or needs another reason to visit someday.”
—Brendan Leonard, Contributing Editor, Climbing Magazine
“Reading Graphic the Valley is like trying on a character’s mind. Hoffmeister embeds you deep inside his narrator’s consciousness to see a secret side of Yosemite National Park. The narrator’s Yosemite is a sacred place, untainted by car campers and color state maps slapped on the backs of RVs, captured in Hoffmeister’s lean, immaculate, and devastating prose.”
—River Donaghey, VICE Magazine Contributor
“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
“Hoffmeister’s book reveals the beauty of our first national park as seen through the eyes of someone who is one with it in body and soul and has a stake in keeping it wild and free. The extreme measures he and others take to keep encroaching development out of the park raises questions about eco-terrorism and whether parks should be “for the people.” It is also an urgent call for preservation.”
—Doug Stephan’s “Good Day,” Radio America