A Place for Ferns and Mushrooms

by Robert Bennett



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 07/07/1977

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 248
ISBN : 9781585000982

About the Book

'A Place for Ferns and Mushrooms' is a mystery/detective novel, narrated by a quasi-legal investigator. The story is designed to convey the lore of tales grown and nurtured in the north woods. Although projected through the metropolitan framework of the San Francisco Bay Area, the story is more narrowly trained on the nuances and background of rural Oregon.

Nibbling around the edges of that current American apprehension so recently spawned by multiculturalism, the book's focus is on the unmitigated fear of it all, working on the premise that the militia movement is not so very distantly removed from the recent boom in country and western music, celebrities buying large ranches in Montana, and a growing interest in folk art.

The pending collapse of linguistic, ethnic and national borders, has forced people, with no reason to have previously questioned, to seek their cultural and ethnic heritage, a search often prompted by a sense of having misplaced something, or a need to define personal identity.

An unanticipated result of reaching for those expatriated Americans, is a subsequent connection to that fringe intellectual segment of American culture, who look fondly back on the 1960s and who once read J.R.R. Tolkien, but have sadly acquired too much knowledge to any longer connect with Bilbo Baggins, and who sometimes reminisce across the wistful background of bluegrass music without projecting that neither the music nor this book could have developed anywhere else in time or place.

This collective American identity crisis, personified by baby boomers raised on Dr. Spock and always urged to find themselves, has not been reflected in popular literature, except perhaps for a revised interest in nostalgic periodicals, such as The Western Horseman and Boots and Saddle, until now.

A strong sense of cultural identity, along with a warm feeling of camaraderie, is advanced throughout this narrative, which is woven together through a story line of a mystery laced with understated humor.

'A Place for Ferns and Mushrooms' is a book designed to contrast relationships; relationships between urban and rural, past and present, hard/cold and warm/fuzzy, while accentuating the contrast between high-tech-international and home-spun-real.

About the Author

Born and raised in Grants Pass, Oregon, about the time the GI Bill tripled the price of Douglas Fir stumpage, I began to work on farms and dairies as soon as I was old enough.

I started operating heavy equipment by the age of 15, mostly in the woods, under the legal age to work. The loggers, short of help and wanting to make a lasting impression, dropped me off on my first day with instructions: 'Take that old motor grader, kid, and blade the snow off the road between here and camp six. The crummy will pick you up at the other end on its way out.'

They left, then backed up and a hickory-clad arm stretched out the window with a red grease rag wired to a rock. 'Here kid,' the arm's owner mumbled, 'if you lose 'er over the edge, throw this out so we'll know where to look for the grader.' It took me an hour and a half to figure out how to start it.

I went to Oregon State to become an engineer after that, then went immediately to Riverside California to experience the auto racing scene. With no money to participate in auto racing, I went back to Oregon. There, I went to Southern Oregon University and emerged with a Bachelor's degree and a teaching credential.

After returning to logging for a while, I tried the paving and construction businesses before enrolling at California State University, Sacramento, to learn how to write a book. I earned a Master's degree and have since written several short stories and three novels, including 'A Place for Ferns and Mushrooms'