Getting Stoned

I had never heard of Robert Stone. I’m not sure how I missed him given my interest in the Beats, the Pranksters and other assorted distortions in the literary canon that occurred in the ’50s and ’60s, but I finally stumbled across him via his memoir of the era, “Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties.”

A few things popped at me as I read the book:

  • Stone is a great writer. He can turn a phrase. He can take you there. So much so that I vowed to venture into his fiction, starting with “A Hall of Mirrors.”
  • I really like the fact that Prime Green doesn’t obsess about the Prankster/Kesey/Kerouac aspect of the era. When he’s there, it’s not really romanticized. And some of the most interesting parts of the book are far removed from that scene. Stone writes about his time in the Navy in an America that hadn’t yet succumbed to the leveling effect of always-on mass media, a time when kids from vastly different regions of the country were tossed together on a Navy ship to be astounded by the fact that they all lived in the same country.
  • I loved his stories from the times he worked for supermarket tabloids like the “National Thunder” in New York, where he toils beside a