The Atlas

The Atlas

William T. Vollmann / Aug 25, 2019

The Atlas 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

  • Title: The Atlas
  • Author: William T. Vollmann
  • ISBN: 9780140254495
  • Page: 161
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 ofHailed 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.

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      Published :2018-09-10T09:10:31+00:00

    About "William T. Vollmann"

      • William T. Vollmann

        William Tanner Vollmann is an American novelist, journalist, short story writer and essayist He lives in Sacramento, California with his wife and daughter.


    730 Comments

    1. THE ATLAS SHRUGGED"I stumble into town just like a sacred cowVisions of swastikas in my head." [Bowie/Pop]"He said everything is messed up around here, everything is banal and jejune." [Cave]Ways of Gazingbut evidently this is the nature of the world in which the author/narrator construct attempts to find himself in "The Atlas", while gazing at first world lakes and mountains and grass, freebasing with pimps and whores galore, and rescuing vulnerable third world women/girls in the name of lurve. [...]


    2. The Vollmann Atlas, circa 1996 (unauthorized abridgment)Mount Aetna, SicilyAfghanistanAgra, IndiaAlgonquin Provincial Park, OntarioAllan Water, OntarioMadagascarAvignonBangkokPhrah Nakhon-Thonburi Province, ThailandBattambang City, CambodiaBattle Rock, OregonBeogradBerkley, CABerlinBig Bend, CABolognaBoot Hill, NebraskaBoston, USABudapestCairoCaliforniaCapri, ItaliaCharlevoix, QuébecChaing Mai, ThailandChurchill, ManitobaSouthampton, Northwest TerritoriesCornwall, OntarioDelhiDiesel Bend, UtahE [...]


    3. Sweet Reader,Allow me to corral this stampede of kittens. One Blind Billy was so in love. Then his "wife" left him. There wasn't a ceremony as such, he just knew it. This was love for Lifetime movie Network, it lasted as long as he bought her drinks and paid for the hotel room. She was gone. Blind Billy then had horrific heartache in his penis. He had to win her back. Traveling through more time zones than a Jim Jarmusch film, Blind Billy discovered some indelible truths. Clean water and being e [...]


    4. Vollmann's Map of the World. Can you descry what territory it describes? Cosmic loneliness. May the Angel of Forgetfulness quickly cloud all of our eyes before we reach the other shore.


    5. Vollmann is, famously, impervious to editing. He’s gone on record as saying that he is willing to endure a lot of lugubrious assignments to ensure that his books are untouched. The Atlas shows this, both to its advantage and detriment. There are no two ways around it: if some of the stories had been culled, this would be a perfect book. But with so much breadth and span—53 stories!—some are bound to fall short of the mark. But the ones that hit, my God. Thousands of pages of Vollmann read [...]


    6. Ostensibly a series of tenuously connected short stories, The Atlas reads like an assemblage of Vollmann's fractured recollections and imaginings from throughout his travels, mingled and stewed together into a single stream of undifferentiated consciousness until the former are indistinguishable from the latter. The influence of surrealism, of Lautremeant is palpable. Vollamnn's voice is incredibly unique, managing to sound at once naive and world-weary. Despite the incredible horrors on display [...]


    7. The only wisdom is to drift - Francis Bacon (the painter)This world is not my home, I'm just a-passin through - Tom WaitsIt's kind of a cliche to say this, but honestly who would expect the author of this book (published in 1996) to still be alive 20 years later? Here travel mainly appears as a way to aggressively court death. In the past half century or so novelists with serious artistic ambitions have become more sheltered and insular, lifelong denizens of the artificial world of college campu [...]


    8. Most of us lead tedious, repetitive lifes (I know I do at least). Ok, we travel, we have vacations but they too are not out of the ordinary. I admit, I am a wuss: I am afraid of drugs, can't stand bad smells and am a cleaning-freak. The only way to really experience things is through reading, that is why I want the book to take me to places I' ve never been before. The Atlas travelled me and haunted my dreams. When a book enters your dreams you know it is good. The prose is excellent, the storie [...]


    9. En el centro del atlas está el escritor. El mapa que nos propone Vollmann es, por supuesto, literario. Relatos breves en una estructura palindrómica, dice, piramidal, digo, que recorre los temas de todas sus obras quizás bajo el motivo recurrente y unificador del amor. Un amor muy peculiar y subjetivo, voluble e itinerante, inconstante y pasional.No es un drama, salvo sobre el papel.Vollmann, como siempre, inclasificable y sublime.


    10. William Vollmann writes stories on similar themes of war and sex for sale, set all over the world, but with a few focused locations -- America's urban fringe, Northern Canada, Bosnia, Southeast Asia. With the constant switching of locations and characters in these stories, it's got this almost William S. Burroughs cut-up quality, especially the central, titular story, in which there's no warning about a switch in setting.But does the actual content of the cut-up bits count for much? I'm not so s [...]


    11. Está por ver que este año lea algo mejor que esto, y eso que estamos en febrero. Tremendo Vollmann.


    12. Some of the most magnificent prose I've ever read -- short, staggering pieces assembled from long, beautiful sentences, like poetry without stanzas. Truly incredible. Bill does have an over-the-top obsession with prostitutes -- and I, knowing this reputation, thinking that he was just upset about the nature of the sex trade, had no idea that he was a frequent customer. Vollman himself reminds me, to a certain degree, of that really annoying indie rocker who's partied with all the great bands and [...]


    13. I just wrote a great long review and then it disappear when I tried to enter it. Arggggg. This is one of my favorite books ever. My life changed the day I bought it for one dollar from a B&N bargain bin and I have since happily bought many other copies at full price for other people. The range of writing styles, feelings, themes, and global places covered here is very rare and amazing. This is the perfect intro to Vollmann too. 53 perfect little stories (52 little ones actually and one reall [...]


    14. A series of vignettes based on journalist/author Willam Vollmann's many travels and experiences around the globe, some of these are autobiographical, fiction, fantastical, or blur the lines between all three. From my perspective the stories ranged from incredible slices of life to way too abstract for me to truly enjoy, but the beauty is with few stories more than a couple pages you can focus on what you enjoy. Hopefully you enjoy prostitutes, though, as they have been an interest of Vollmann's [...]


    15. i'm rereading this and am feeling like it is oddly and lazily pieced. . .i am also really struck (again as i always am when reading early vollman) with the dynamic of female prostitution and his seeming fascination with sex as deathly and irresistable. the procreative aspect/potential is virtually absent. and it's striking because you very seldom see this depiction.


    16. Just starting thislove the huge variety and shortness of locales. I am fond of his advice for other uses with the book should one find it tediouse substitute, fly swatter, eye guard, sleep-inducer, etcOK, I had to stop reading once I got to the seal hunting and gutting. Gross.




    17. Bits of the sublime ('The Hill of Gold,' 'The Angel of Prison') mixed with the not-so-good and lots of talk of crack, heroin and sex workers


    18. vollmann is a writer with great humility. it seems like the writer's task to process the world and create a perspective, some kind of an angle that makes sense for the reader, but Vollmann is all circles and air. he's difficult to understand, but he is incredibly honest and his incomprehensibility is delivered directly from the world which is his inspiration to the person holding the book. also, vollmann's introduction reminded me very very much of the sentiment of leonard cohen's preface for Be [...]


    19. She was dressed in a kimono and she spoke English like a Japanese. When she haltingly sang a karaoke love-song, she sang wirging.Oh, are you a virgin? I said.Nit noy. Little bit.This is the rawness that the 53 stories of The Atlas pursue. I am reminded of a burnt-out detective, running the beat in a hopeless town, roused to arms (in the loosest sense of the word) by a mild opiate. You get to peek into his past when he utters some slipshod phrase as you top-up his mug with tar black coffee. You h [...]


    20. Vollmann is one of the best writers of our generation and this is an amazing book, but I still can't recommend it. Just like I wouldn't recommend a punch in the face, although if you have never been hit in the kisser, it might be a worthwhile experience. As a writer Vollmann is a mix of Hemingway, David Foster Wallace, and The Devil, but as a storyteller he is something different all together. He manages to be both journalistic in his details and surreal with his events, without stumbling or sho [...]


    21. this collection of short tales that take place all over the world is enjoyable story to story, but check this out, vollmann writes in the intro:'for those who require games and calculations in order to drowse, i should state that this collection is arranged palindromically: the motif in the first story is taken up again in the last; the second story finds its echo in the second to last, and so on.'it's taking me a while to get through it because with each story i keep jumping to the correlated s [...]


    22. "The dog would bolt that food, crunching bones between yellow teeth. The poison was in the best parts, the fatty parts. First the dog would stretch out, happily gnawing the last thick bone. Then suddenly it would cock its head. It raised its ears, listening alertly to the bells which only it could hear. Something was happening or had just begun to happen which the dog did not understand yet because the growling whimpering convulsions had not begun. The dog knew only that what was happening was e [...]


    23. William Vollman's take on travel writing?ough the destinations are as much an Atlas of his worldview and experience than any sort of guide for bohemian backpackers.des, Vollman relishes going where others would never want or dare torhaps not since Hunter Thompson have the lines between the worlds of novel writing and journalism been so blurred vivid, surrealistic, sordid, sensational, and a word amazing.


    24. Make sure you are up-to-date on your Paxil maintenance, as there is little cheer on these pages. Yes, there is stark honesty and the beautiful prose we expect from Mr. Vollmann, but the string of vignettes grates after the keystone section. I spent the last 150 pages musing on whether he really meant for this to be digested in smaller bites, in keeping with his instructions for interacting with "Rising Up and Rising Down."


    25. this is just simply the ultimate book. although i find myself disagreeing with him so much of the time on principle (particularly on his views of helpless women), i'm totally drawn into his world. his descriptions are visceral and ultimately sincere. the fact that he lives his stories brings the rawness of his world and his truth to life in a unique way. i have never read an author like him.


    26. Hypnotic, loose synapses, transitions flit like fireflies, blip, blip, from one topic to next. Automatic writing, flashes, immediacy of pen to pages, loosely formed, not bound-thread so thin it is invisible, no beginning and no ending. One of my favorites on page 102, called Under a Grass- Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.A. (1968).


    27. vivid, violent, heartaching, intimate views of the despair of people in their corners of the world. vollman shrinks the world down to one place. amazing writing from a genius that gets to a place only DFW has gotten with me before not recommended if you are already feeling depressed, there is little hope to be found here.


    28. What happens when to stop traveling and start reading travelogues? Coincidentally, this one starts in Yugoslavia as well.Great writer, sometimes a little hard to read. When you're on the same page as him, the structures that his stories create coalesce perfectly and stick with you. When you aren't, they float away, formless.


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