Seymour Hamilton took us into the far future with Astreya, his acclaimed science fiction trilogy. Now, with as much art and compelling storytelling, he masterfully takes us back to the nearby past with the novel, The Hippies Who Meant It.
In the photographic view of the back-to-the-land movement, the one we all saw in newspapers and magazines and clips on TV, the young hippies appear as shaggy, strangely dressed, idealistic and a bit glazed over. It’s a photo that we’ve all seen, the braless young girls, the bearded young men in Captain Marvel overalls and the kids in tie-dyed jammies.
Some of them were in it briefly, lured by the image but ultimately repelled by the reality of hauling water, enduring outdoor plumbing and the realization that communing with nature was not enough to get a garden planted. The ones who couldn’t take the calluses quickly headed back to the cities and suburbs fueled by their newfound desire to “live well”.
But there were also those who were in it for real. They were The Hippies Who Meant It.
They stuck it out and learned to adapt and even thrive. Their intertwined stories … what drove or lured them to live on the land … capture the time as nothing else I’ve read. The Hippies who Meant It is a novel that is driven by characters who are in as much trouble, love, confusion, and danger as anyone in any part of society, only they’re doing it in homebuilt cabins in out of the way pieces of the country. They were the ones who came to the land seeking a life other than that toward which they were being propelled and stayed to make it happen.