Imperial by William Vollmann

I recently came across this great interview at www.motherjones.com calling William Vollmann “a writer with no borders.”

He refers to his new book, Imperial, as “the continuum between Mexico and America.”

A man of many words and few delusions, Vollmann is a National Book Award–winning novelist, a daring oral historian, and an intrepid journalist. His latest moral inquiry is an encyclopedic gathering of facts, stories, impressions, and analysis about the volatile and tragic U.S.-Mexico borderland. Imperial is a county in California, a city, a valley, and a beach, but for Vollmann, “Imperial is the continuum between Mexico and California”—a geographical and spiritual entity, the “kingdom of secrets,” and the site of epic battles over water, work, sovereignty, power, and wealth.

Ten years in the making, this immense, poetically structured, provoking, and surprisingly intimate volume of reportage, history, and reflection chronicles Vollmann’s risky journeys through deserts, cities, and archives, through contradictions, confessions, and lies. Vollmann talks with all kinds of people under circumstances alarming, bizarre, tender, and funny. He navigates the infamously foul New River, descends into Mexicali’s “Chinese tunnels,” and vigorously investigates the urgent conundrums of illegal immigration and floundering agriculture, increasing water usage and falling water tables, and pollution and prejudice.

He writes of love and hate; strip clubs, churches, and the maquiladoras; and violence and generosity. He asks, “What can I learn?” And he confesses, “everything is precious to me.” In an age of trash punditry, Twitter, and gnat-like attention spans, Vollmann’s curiosity, forthrightness, lyricism, capaciousness, and empathy are revolutionary.

Adding it to my list.

Author

Spread the love

More Articles for You

Understanding The Children’s Train by Viola Ardone

Based on a true events, with more than 5,922 ratings on Goodreads, when I saw The Children’s Train, by Viola …

Spread the love

Searching the 1950 Census: Things I didn’t Know about East Harlem & Vito

I always thought 2nd Avenue was expansive. I have fond memories of playing in the open “pompa” – Spanglish for …

Spread the love

Frida on Chestfeeding: A Study in Empathy and Deep Customer Understanding

Really well done Frida Mom! This is how you resonate with your audience. Author Literanista Spread the lovemore

Spread the love

La Brega: A Podcast About the Puerto Rican Experience

In the past several years, I’ve suffered a lot of loss, besides the turmoil of the pandemic, my mother, my …

Spread the love

We Are Legion: Social Media Protips from the founder of Beyoncé Legion

This: “Posting content on such a huge platform can’t be done randomly. You need to be highly organized and consistent. …

Spread the love

For Rosa: A Film About Forced Sterilization

HBO acquired, “For Rosa”, a fictional film inspired by the true story of 10 Latina women in Los Angeles who …

Spread the love