The High Country Illuminator

The High Country Illuminator: A Tale of Light and Darkness and the Ski Bums of Avalon

The High Country 
Illuminator By the time I'd sold my second novel, I had it down to a science: grab the check and put it work. The advance from Incident at Muc Wa went to the down payment on a cottage on the shore of a salt-water bay in New Hampshire. I promptly rented it out, put my skis in the Volkswagen Beetle, and drove West, sleeping betimes in the car. Just before Thanksgiving, I drove up Colorado Route 82 to the mountain town of Aspen. It was ritzy even then, though much more hospitable than now to the ski-bums who flocked there every winter. I rented a room in the Garret at 222 West Hopkins for $70 a month, which happened to be the same rental I was getting for my house at home: I just endorsed the check over to the innkeepers every month.

That was a great winter, and I did learn to ski, after a fashion. Indeed, by April I believed that I'd mastered the art, though in truth I was merely strong enough to ski almost anything, so I had to start all over again the following winter in New Hampshire. By that time I was married and had a little girl coming along. Sally and I each worked half a day--at the same job, actually--and I spent my free time writing The High Country Illuminator in an effort to catch the manic life of Aspen toward the end of the 1960s, a time of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, marijuana, and disgust at a government that would send its young men to fight other young men in Vietnam. It was, I think, the closest this country came to revolution, apart from the years 1775-1783 and 1861-1865. The death toll was much smaller, of course, but it was not inconsiderable.

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What the critics said

  • "A light, allegorical shorty of a book that swings along in tempo with the hip sub-culture" -- Denver Post

  • "Extremely bizarre and delightfully humorous ... stirs up the ski resort with professional ability and a touch of magic -- Oregon Journal

  • "The writing is adept, the plot bewildering, the pace dizzy, and the skiing scenes are out of sight" -- Skier magazine

  • "Vivid and effortless" -- Library Journal

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  • The High Country Illuminator is a 6x9 inch paperback, 178 pages, retail price $10.95. Get it from onlines retailers including:
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  • The digital edition contains the same text and costs $4.99 in the US, slightly more elsewhere. Get it at major e-tailers, including:
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    Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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    Front page | Digital editions | Printed books

    Novels: Incident at Muc Wa | The High Country Illuminator | Remains | Now Comes Theodora | Michael's War

    Non-fiction: Cowboy |Flying Tigers | Poland's Daughter | The Only War We've Got | Glen Edwards | The Lady and the Tigers | When I Am Going | A Vision So Noble | The Country Northward

    Other sites: Warbird's Forum | the blog | Facebook page | Piper Cub Forum | Raintree County | Reading Proust | Expedition Yacht Seal

    Posted August 2019. Websites © 1997-2019 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.