The Atlas

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Viking, 1996 - Fiction - 459 pages
2 Reviews
In The Atlas, William T. Vollmann presents his vision of our planet at the cusp, with old conflicts smoldering on and new miseries and estrangements multiplying. Bosnia, Phnom Penh, Jerusalem, New York, Mogadishu, the Arctic, a bazaar of fortune-tellers in Burma, a robber-infested disco in Madagascar - against these backdrops, Vollmann's tales live their own various and wildly different lives, from fable to surrealistic portrait to reportage. Above all, it is the human beings in this book who engage us: the old walrus hunter, the crack-addicted prostitute whose children have been taken away from her, the boxer brought in to lose, the drunken gypsy, and from time to time, of course, the author himself. Through their eyes, Vollmann writes of memory, oppression, loneliness, war, the thrill of the alien, and the infinitely precious pain of love. Arranged as a huge thematic palindrome, The Atlas showcases Vollmann's ability to build strange structures, sonnets composed of stories instead of words.

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THE ATLAS

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Making a bid for the bleakest book of the year, Vollmann (Butterfly Stories, 1993, etc.) fashions a world-wide web of despair in a palindrome of 53 stories, each having to do with sorrow or loss, and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - darwin.8u - LibraryThing

He is truly an amazing writer. This is not his strongest work, but is representative of what he probably could produce while you were finishing watching the DVD edition of 24, Season 2. More prolific ... Read full review

Contents

OPENING THE BOOK
3
ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?
11
AN OLD MAN IN OLD GRAYISH
17
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Journalist and novelist William T. Vollmann was born in 1959 and educated at Cornell University. He worked as a comptuer programmer before becoming a journalist and covering Bosnia, Sarajevo and Afghanistan. He has written extensively since 1987, when his first book, You Bright and Risen Angels, was published. The Atlas (1996) won the PEN Center USA West Award for the best novel by a writer living west of the Mississippi. His newest work of Non-Fiction is entitled, Imperial.

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