William T. Vollmann on Imperial

Presently on tour to support his massive new work Imperial, journalist, novelist and National Book Award winner for 2005's Europe Central, William T. Vollmann was recently in San Francisco.

imperial vollmann book

I caught up with him at the Mechanic's Institute Library to chat about Imperial, a sprawling, 1,300-page, ten-years-in-the-making account of the history, politics and human geography of the Imperial Valley which runs from Southern California into Mexico. From graffiti on the border wall to tunnels running under the border to small spits of American territory all but ceded to Mexico, Vollmann's reach is vast, his curiosity relentless and his desire to tell a story inspiring.

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