The Atlas by William Vollmann

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Synopsis

Hailed by Newsday as "the most unconventional--and possibly the most exciting and imaginative--novelist at work today," William T. Vollmann has also established himself as an intrepid journalist willing to go to the hottest spots on the planet. Here he draws on these formidable talents to create a web of fifty-three interconnected tales, what he calls 'a piecemeal atlas of the world I think in.' Set in locales from Phnom Penh to Sarajevo, Mogadishu to New York, and provocatively combining autobiography with invention, fantasy with reportage, these stories examine poverty, violence, and loss even as they celebrate the beauty of landscape, the thrill of the alien, the infinitely precious pain of love. The Atlas brings to life a fascinating array of human beings: an old Inuit walrus-hunter, urban aborigines in Sydney, a crack-addicted prostitute, and even Vollmann himself.
 

About William Vollmann

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William T. Vollmann is the author of eight novels, three collections of stories, a memoir, and Rising Up and Rising Down, which was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. His 1996 story collection, The Atlas, won the PEN Center USA/West Award for best fiction and he was the recipient of a 1988 Whiting Writers Award. VollmannÂ's journalism has been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harpers, Granta, Grand Street, and Outside Magazine.
 
Published April 1, 1996 by Penguin Books. 500 pages
Genres: Travel, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Atlas

Kirkus Reviews

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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 often involving the hopeless lives of whores from Cambodia to Canada.

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Publishers Weekly

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Last year could be remembered as a year in which the prolific young Vollmann did not publish a book; early 1996, however, shows that he wasn't sitting on his hands. This massive tome collects tales

Apr 01 1996 | Read Full Review of The Atlas

Publishers Weekly

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Fifty-three interconnected tales mixing travelogue and fiction from the prolific enfant terrible.

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Publishers Weekly

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Last year could be remembered as a year in which the prolific young Vollmann did not publish a book;

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Entertainment Weekly

Though The Atlas appears to be a collection of 53 short pieces — fiction, travelogue, and autobiographical stories — Vollmann calls this gargantuan work a ''piecemeal atlas of the world I think in.'' He wants the reader to treat it as a ''pillow-book.skipping the tales you find tedious, dozi...

Mar 29 1996 | Read Full Review of The Atlas

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