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About a Mountain (Hardcover)

Author:  John D'Agata
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FORMAT: Hardcover
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Description
 

Product Details:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0393068188
ISBN-13: 9780393068184
Sku: 211874036
Publish Date: 2/1/2010
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.75H x 6.25L x 1T
Pages:  236
 
From one of the most significant U.S. writers (David Foster Wallace) comes an investigation of 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.
From the Publisher:
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.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.
Annotation:
Iowa Writers' Workshop alum and instructor John D'Agata spins an investigative report on the government's problematic plan to store nuclear waste inside Nevada's Yucca Mountain into an introspective dervish which somehow takes on more universal appeal as he directs his focus inward. Sliding liberally and lyrically from environmental issues to local interest reporting to art history to psychology, D'Agata simultaneously displays and mimics his own lucid confusion as he contemplates the cultural links between a potential ecological cataclysm, the delirious excess of Las Vegas, and a harrowing public suicide with a personal connection. Selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2010 Top 100 Book.

Praise

"A sublime reading experience, aesthetically rewarding and marked by moral courage and humility....In this circuitous, stylish investigation, D'Agata...uses the federal government's highly controversial...proposal to entomb the U.S.'s nuclear waste located in Yucca Mountain, near Las Vegas, as his way into a spiraling and subtle examination of the modern city, suicide, linguistics, Edvard Munch's The Scream, ecological and psychic degradation, and the gulf between information and knowledge." (starred review) 12/21/2009

"Reading John D'Agata's...ABOUT A MOUNTAIN is like finding your GPS on the fritz, getting lost, and then, suddenly, realizing you're on the right road after all, and headed for an epiphany or two....D'Agata's style has the off-kilter air of free association about it, as if he's jumping randomly from first thought to first thought....You don't quite follow why he's devoting page after page to Munch's 'The Scream,' or to a 'neon boneyard' where old signs go to die, until you do - and then the book's connections dawn on you like a reverberating rhyme in a poem." - Matthew Gilbert 02/07/2010

"John D'Agata's ABOUT A MOUNTAIN is, among other things, a study of political myopia, nuclear threat and activism coalescing at Yucca mountain....If he had told the story with journalistic straightforwardness, the book could have been edifying and informative. But by choosing a labyrinthine structure, the author turns it into something transcendent....This is an empathetic and virtuosic performance that invites us to live more bravely with, and think about, our uncertainties." - Parul Sehgal 02/11/2010

"[E]xquisite....Ostensibly a story about Yucca Mountain, ABOUT A MOUNTAIN is really a meditation on the nature of fact and fantasy, a riff on Las Vegas that gets beneath the city's layers of cliché. It is also a book that seeks to tell us a little something about time and understanding, even as it admits that these concepts are too big, too amorphous, for us to wrap our minds around. This is what, at its best, contemporary narrative nonfiction aspires to, a story that, like the novel, operates on many levels at once. And in ABOUT A MOUNTAIN, D'Agata has found a nearly perfect nexus to investigate our post-millennial concerns." - David L. Ulin 02/14/2010

"[A]n engrossing story and an often impressive piece of reporting....The book is a shouted question about who we are and how we move forward. This is how art is made. And the final pages of ABOUT A MOUNTAIN...are unquestionably art, a breathtaking piece of writing." - Charles Bock 02/28/2010

Product Attributes
Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0236
Product attributePublisher:   W. W. Norton & Company
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