Then There Is No Mountain by Richard Higgs
An American Memoir

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His honesty is admirable, but it costs him part of what draws readers to memoirs: the thrill of authenticity. Dull moments overshadow the exciting ones.


Higgs’s friend, Joe, has been after him for a couple of years to join him in a climb of Mount Rainier, and in 2009, while recovering from cancer surgery, Higgs realize it’s time to say yes. Life is short, and death is long. They drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Mount Rainier and back. The climax of the trip is the climb, but the story goes far beyond Rainier. They stay on the road for three weeks, along with Higgs’s wife, Louise, and Joe’s wife, Laura. Along the way, they pass through the cities of Boulder, Twin Falls, Portland, Seattle, Mendocino, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, and Albuquerque. And all the wild American West in between. Higgs has traveled extensively in the U.S., all his life, so, along the way to and from Rainier, they cross many old paths of his. These crossings become the occasions for stories from his past adventures on the American road, from the 1970s of his youth, to 2009.

“When asked about overcoming writer’s block, Ernest Hemingway famously said that, ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ If that is accurate, and I know it is, then Richard Higgs need never worry. His book, Then There is No Mountain — An American Memoir, does not contain one false word. In a series of compelling stories that move seamlessly through time and place, Higgs lays bare his soul by sharing episodes of his life pilgrimage from picking cherries and climbing mountains to spending time in jail and battling cancer. Much like Jack Kerouac and Edward Abbey, this is an author who truly knows the importance of movement and that complete calm is certain death. And he is also a man who lives by the belief that the journey, not the destination is what really matters.” –Michael Wallis, Author of Route 66: The Mother Road

“Imminently readable and entertaining, in both a sensory way (great description) and in a philosophical way, which in the voice of the writer is homespun wisdom from true-life experience and somewhat lofty reading. I was reminded time and again of Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. Beautiful writing.” -- CreateSpace editorial staff

“Reminiscent of Hemingway’s ‘Big Two-Hearted River’” -grimy and good and well-honed.” -- Mark Brown, editor-in-chief, “This Land Press”

"Then There Is No Mountain" combines elements of road story, nature writing, outdoor adventure, cancer survival, and coming-of-age story. It also combines techniques of nonfiction and fiction, blended to serve the truest account of Higgs’s experiences.

About Richard Higgs

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I've been a drifter, hitchhiker, migrant farmworker, soldier, fugitive, prisoner, long-haul trucker, mountain climber, poet, published author, and public radio DJ. After several years of drifting, I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1980. In 1996, I wrote my first book "Bringing In The Sheaves" chronicling a summer I'd spent on a wheat harvesting crew on the Great Plains. I'm a free-lance journalist and since 1999, I've co-hosted the Public Radio program "Folk Salad". I live in a small house with my wife Louise and our cat Honeybee.
Published March 28, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 282 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs.
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Below average
on Apr 08 2013

His honesty is admirable, but it costs him part of what draws readers to memoirs: the thrill of authenticity. Dull moments overshadow the exciting ones.

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