Kingdoms in the Air by Bob Shacochis
Dispatches from the Far Away

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...his latest book of essays, “Kingdoms in the Air,” could serve as a kind of career-defining collection of magazine writing from 1989 to today. It starts powerfully...Soon there’s a rash of hyphenated phrases...
-LA Times

Synopsis

“Shacochis has extended his knowledge and imagination into places most of us have never ventured.”—Washington Post

Best known for his sweeping international and political fiction narratives, including The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, which won the Dayton Peace Prize and was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Bob Shacochis began his writing career as a pioneering journalist and contributing editor for Outside Magazine and Harper’s. Kingdoms in the Air brings together the very best of Shacochis’s culture and travel essays in one livewire collection that spans his global adventures and his life passions; from surfing, to his obsession with the South American dorado, to the time he went bushwhacking in Mozambique.

In the titular essay “Kingdoms,” the longest work in the collection, Shacochis ventures to Nepal with his friend, the photographer, Thomas Laird, who was the first foreigner to live in Nepal's kingdom of Mustang as the forbidden Shangri-la prepared to open its borders to trekkers and trade. When the two men return a decade after Laird first lived there, Shacochis observes in brilliantly evocative prose both the current cultural and political landscape of the country and the changes that his friend has to reconcile with.

Replete with Shacochis’s signature swagger, humor, and crystalline wisdom, Kingdoms in the Air is a majestic and essential collection from one of our most important writers.


 

About Bob Shacochis

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Bob Shacochis's first collection of stories, asy in the Islands, won the National Book Award for First Fiction, and his second collection, The Next New World, was awarded the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the author of the novel Swimming in the Volcano, a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Immaculate Invasion, a work of literary reportage that was a finalist for The New Yorker Book Award for Best Nonfiction of the Year. Shacochis is a contributing editor at Outside, a former columnist for Gentleman's Quarterly, and has served as a contributing editor for Harper's and GQ. His op-eds on the US military, Haiti, and Florida politics have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
 
Published June 7, 2016 by Grove Press. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Kingdoms in the Air
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Mar 16 2016

Shacochis details Nepal’s tumultuous political past, vividly renders the landscape’s “luminous presence” and “physical sacredness,” and sensitively portrays Laird’s passions.

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Peter Lewis on Jul 01 2016

Shacochis, too, is a hybrid, though not absurd. To grasp a place, he will read Foreign Policy, but also entertain a land’s mystery, intrigue, shadow play and myth.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by NATHAN DEUEL on Jun 02 2016

...his latest book of essays, “Kingdoms in the Air,” could serve as a kind of career-defining collection of magazine writing from 1989 to today. It starts powerfully...Soon there’s a rash of hyphenated phrases...

Read Full Review of Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatch... | See more reviews from LA Times
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