Sunday, February 3, 2008

Rise of the Vollmann

William T. Vollmann is speaking at Seattle's University Bookstore on Monday night, February 4.

Vollmann is one of America's most prolific and ambitious writers, having written for many major publications and having picked up several major literary awards. Yet, he has always remained emotionally vulnerable, choosing to focus his works almost exclusively on the struggles of the marginal, poor, and forgotten. I first read him in 1991, just in time to catch up with his first three books. You Bright and Risen Angels is an epic Roman a clef in the vein of Thomas Pynchon's V; The Rainbow Stories is a series of short stories, tall tales and allegories featuring a staggering variety of punks, poets and demigods; Whores for Gloria is a sad and vital novel about the prostitutes of San Francisco's Tenderloin District. Since then he's published some 16 further books of fiction and reportage, written journalism for Harper's, Spin, Granta and the New York Times and won the National Book Award for his novel Europe Central. His productivity is legendary, and even more impressive is that somehow all of books seem so thoughtful and well researched. There's no way to keep up - he writes faster than most people read.

He'll be reading from his latest book (and his sixth major work published in the last 5 years), Riding Towards Everywhere, a study of the year he spent hopping freight trains across the country. Like so much of what he's written, it looks to be idealistic, provocative and painfully honest.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Have u try the online bookstore

I get all my textbooks for this semester from this bookstore. All are brand new textbooks and half price discount textbooks.

Good luck and wish some help.
hehe ^_^