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Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphsby William T. Vollmann
Synopses & Reviews
The settings for the stories in Vollmann's collection range from Las Vegas to Bangkok, but his protagonists share traits in common. They are the desperate, the haunted, those who have reached the end of their ropes and are trying to make sense of a world that has failed them. The prostitutes and pimps, the addicts and the skinheads, who are the subjects of Vollmann's stories are all engaged in larger journeys of self-discovery. The hope that the next fix, the next night of sex, the next trip abroad will finally lead them to an always allusive internal peace.
"As diverse and exciting a group of stories as anyone has had to show for the last few years." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"And certainly no one writing today of any generation has more news to relate than Vollmann, a rough-edged beast who has been slouching toward some millennial Bethlehem with a monstrous elegance, utter fearlessness, and voracious appetite that one associates with Melville, Whitman and Pynchon." Los Angeles Times Book Review
Two astonishing stories frame this collection. The first, "The Ghost of Magnetism," tells about a young man leaving San Francisco to become a sort of literary hobo living on his freeze-dried memories. The last, "The Grave of Lost Stories," describes the death of Poe in a fungus-encrusted tomb somewhere deep in the earth. Here is the colorful and disreputable group of people familiar to us from Vollmann's earlier fiction pimps, tramps, pornographers, witch doctors, and massage-parlor girls. Within these stories, Vollmann gives us one of the most searching, bizarre, and subversive views of America today.
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