WTV

50145491-30153526

Reporting from San Francisco – William T. Vollmann hardly looks like one of the most ambitious authors of his generation. Walking on Haight Street in his rumpled jeans, ball cap and black T-shirt, shoulders bowed beneath a heavy backpack, he seems an older version of the street kids who still congregate in the tawdry heart of Haight-Ashbury — young men mostly, carrying bedrolls, panhandling for change. In a lot of ways, these are Vollmann’s people: outsiders, on the fringes, whom society tends to disregard. Outsiders have motivated his writing, from his 1987 debut novel, “You Bright and Risen Angels,” which posits a war between insects and human beings, through his most recent effort, the monumental “Imperial” (Viking: 1,306 pp., $55), which tracks another kind of conflict: the battles, real and metaphorical, that define Imperial County — battles over immigration and water, identity and the reach and limitations of political power. The book, which came out in August, is perhaps the clearest expression of Vollmann’s career-long commitment to immerse himself in complexities.

more from David L. Ulin at the LA Times here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email