Arelentlessly curious, endlessly sensitive, and unequivocally adventurous examiner of human existence, William T. Vollmann now takes to the rails. In the company of experienced fellow train-hopper Steve, Vollmann trawls the secretive waters of a unique underground lifestyle—subjecting both our national romance with and skepticism about the hobo life to his finely tuned, analytical eye. Carrying on in the footloose tradition of Huckleberry Finn, he offers a moving, strikingly modern vision of the American dream, brilliantly exploring both our deeply ingrained romanticizing of "freedom" and the myriad ways we restrict the very freedoms we profess to admire.
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William T. Vollmann is the author of seven novels, three collections of stories, and a seven-volume critique of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down. He is also the author of Poor People, a worldwide examination of poverty through the eyes of the impoverished themselves; Riding Toward Everywhere, an examination of the train-hopping hobo lifestyle; and Imperial, a panoramic look at one of the poorest areas in America. He has won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a Whiting Writers' Award. His journalism and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Spin and Granta. Vollmann lives in Sacramento, California.From Publishers Weekly:
In this sometimes heavy-handed though brief (especially for Vollmann) memoir of hopping trains and riding the rails, Vollmann, National Book Award winner for Europe Central, explores a personal and national obsession. From a certain open boxcar in a freight train heading the wrong way, he writes, I have enjoyed pouring rain, then birds and frogs, fresh yellow-green wetness of fields. Taking to the rails out West, Vollmann sometimes travels with buddies pursuing the same thrill, the same freedom people have long associated with railroads. Other times, he meets up with grizzled hobos and degenerates, reflecting on himself and his reasons for risking life and limb to see America from a speeding freight train. Whatever beauty our railroad travels bestow upon us comes partly from the frequent lovely surprises of reality itself, he says, often from the intersection of our fantasies with our potentialities. While he never really gets around to fully explaining his own reasons for doing so—he makes long, curlicue allusions to his restless soul and search for deeper meanings of things—Vollmann pieces together a kind of patchwork portrait of the lusts and longings of a nation torn by social inequity and riven with anger about the current state of affairs, especially but not limited to the war in Iraq and the ongoing sadness of American overseas misadventures. Through the self-indulgent mist, though, a sharper picture emerges. Vollmann captures an ongoing romantic vision of America—a nation always on the move, nervous and jittery, and never really satisfied with itself.
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Book Description Ecco, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0061256757
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Book Description NY: Ecco Press, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition, FIRST PRINTING, SIGNED by WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN on the title page (simply signed, not inscribed to anyone); hardback with dustjacket, unread in AS NEW (Fine/Fine) condition (no marks, not book-club ed., etc); comes with a GLOSSY PHOTO of the author at the signing event. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 9223