Riding Toward Everywhere

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jan 22, 2008 - Social Science - 288 pages
20 Reviews

Vollmann is a relentlessly curious, endlessly sensitive, and unequivocally adventurous examiner of human existence. He has investigated the causes and symptoms of humanity's obsession with violence (Rising Up and Rising Down), taken a personal look into the hearts and minds of the world's poorest inhabitants (Poor People), and now turns his attentions to America itself, to our romanticizing of "freedom" and the ways in which we restrict the very freedoms we profess to admire.

For Riding Toward Everywhere, Vollmann himself takes to the rails. His main accomplice is Steve, a captivating fellow trainhopper who expertly accompanies him through the secretive waters of this particular way of life. Vollmann describes the thrill and terror of lying in a trainyard in the dark, avoiding the flickering flashlights of the railroad bulls; the shockingly, gorgeously wild scenery of the American West as seen from a grainer platform; the complicated considerations involved in trying to hop on and off a moving train. It's a dangerous, thrilling, evocative examination of this underground lifestyle, and it is, without a doubt, one of Vollmann's most hauntingly beautiful narratives.

Questioning anything and everything, subjecting both our national romance and our skepticism about hobo life to his finely tuned, analytical eye and the reality of what he actually sees, Vollmann carries on in the tradition of Huckleberry Finn, providing a moving portrait of this strikingly modern vision of the American dream.

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Review: Riding Toward Everywhere

User Review  - Alex V. - Goodreads

This book is as easy to love as it is to hate. The author here is not just hopping trains to see where they lead, he's hopping his privilege to do so of his own volition, to worship an open-air ... Read full review

Review: Riding Toward Everywhere

User Review  - Dave Moore - Goodreads

Rarely, if ever, have I taken such a rapid and intense dislike for an author and a book as I did for the egocentric and pretentious Vollmann and his 'let me dip my toe in hoboism' waste of paper. His ... Read full review

Contents

chapter
1
chapter
51
chapter four
95
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

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.

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