Art Bernstein
Hayloft 31*
Book Review by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony

This is a fanciful hiking adventure that quickly becomes surreal and philosophical. A quirky, fun-loving, yet menacingly profound demeanor pervades this sometimes silly sometimes life & death novel. I'm reminded of "Hitcher Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Or perhaps "Lord of the Rings" meets Richard Bach's "Illusions." (The later being one of my favorites).

A hiker, a parachutist and an alcoholic find themselves somewhere between Heaven and Hell in the backwoods of Northern California. A smaller scale LOTR type battle mounts as the hiker finds himself conversing with history's most enlightened spiritual/philosophical figures.

The chapter entitled "Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee" drags a bit. I would have chosen another title (perhaps "Adam Falls Up" or "Hiker Heaven") and gone an alternative direction with the ending, but Hayloft is still a lot of fun as well as many times poignant. It's a refreshingly entertaining look, set in the California wilderness, into oft-thought stuffy discussions on the meaning of life.

Here are some quotes from the book that I found particularly enjoyable:

"If he no longer found God on the trail, he could at least try for a legendary monster."

"He could tell it was a Bigfoot by the size of its feet."

"That's the nature of Truth. But don't worry. Of the few who are allowed to the trailhead, most don't even make it this far. And of those who do, the majority turn back rather than take a chance."

"God whiled away the millennia by daydreaming and inventing."

"The more he struggled, the tighter God held him."

"A truly loving Christian would refuse to have any part of a Heaven that only allowed Christians."

"…there is no better way to control people than to make them terrified to even THINK the wrong thing."

"…quit worrying about what others believe and just love each other, with a pure heart and no agenda."

"…it's amazing how little it takes to bring you to ecstasy when you have nothing."

"If Hell has power over you, it is because of the spiritual hell inside your own head."

"Find the Yahee-or within and it will lead you to the Yahee-or without."

(Interesting Personal Note: The main character is Adam Johnson. His father is Eddie Johnson from Ohio. I found this incredibly eerie, as my 4th novel is titled Eddie Johnson's Ark and it takes place in Ohio.)

Read more Book Reviews by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony.

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 29-Feb-2012 13:34:02 PST