Synopses & Reviews
When John D'Agata helps his mother move to Las Vegas one summer, he begins to follow a story about the federal government's plan to store high-level nuclear waste at a place called Yucca Mountain, a desert range near the city of Las Vegas. Bearing witness to the parade of scientific, cultural, and political facts that give shape to Yucca"s story, D'Agata keeps the six tenets of reporting in mind — "Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How" — arranging his own investigation around each vital question.
Yet as the contradictions inherent in Yucca's story are revealed, D'Agata's investigation turns inevitably personal. He finds himself investigating the death of a teenager who jumps off the tower of the Stratosphere Hotel, a boy whom D'Agata believes he spoke with before his suicide.
Here is the work of a penetrating thinker whose startling portrait of a mountain in the desert compels a reexamination of the future of human life.
"Unquestionably art, a breathtaking piece of writing." Charles Bock, The New York Times Book Review
"D'Agata's distinctive narrative rhythms, melancholy wit, and keen perception of the social facade and the toxic darkness it conceals make for an acid test, and a ballad about the endless enigmas of humankind." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"The book's connections dawn on you like a reverberating rhyme in a poem." Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe
"When you're reading D'Agata, you're in such thrall to the dizzying literary risks he takes...you can't help but be thrilled." William L. Fox, Las Vegas Weekly
"This is what, at its best, contemporary narrative nonfiction aspires to, a story that, like the novel, operates on many levels at once." David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
From "one of the most significant U.S. writers" (David Foster Wallace), an investigation of Yucca Mountain and human destruction in Las Vegas.
About the Author
John D'Agata is the author of About a Mountain, Halls of Fame and editor of The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay. He teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he lives.