Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff (Bloomsbury) // Song for the Unraveling of the World (Coffee House Press)
An "epic exploration" of the 2016 right-wing Oregon Occupation--"an excellent microcosm by which we might better understand our difficult national history and distressing political moment" (Maggie Nelson).
In 2016, a group of armed, divinely inspired right-wing protestors led by Ammon Bundy occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the high desert of eastern Oregon. Encamped in the shadowlands of the republic, insisting that the Federal government had no right to own public land, the occupiers were seen by a divided country as either dangerous extremists dressed up as cowboys, or as heroes insisting on restoring the rule of the Constitution. From the Occupation's beginnings, to the trials of the occupiers in federal court in downtown Portland and their tumultuous aftermaths, Shadowlands is the resonant, multifaceted story of one of the most dramatic flashpoints in the year that gave us Donald Trump.
Sharing the expansive stage with the occupiers are a host of others--Native American tribal leaders, public-lands ranchers, militia members, environmentalists, federal defense attorneys, and Black Lives Matter activists--each contending in their different ways with the meaning of the American promise of Liberty. Gathering into its vortex the realities of social media technology, history, religion, race, and the environment--this piercing work by Anthony McCann offers us a combination of beautiful writing and high-stakes analysis of our current cultural and political moment. Shadowlands is a clarifying, exhilarating story of a nation facing an uncertain future and a murky past in a time of great collective reckoning.
Praise for Shadowlands:
"Strikingly empathetic . . . [Shadowlands] is that rare beast these days--a chronicle of and a meditation on an intensely politicized affair that delves beneath merely partisan concerns to touch its subject's absurd and tragic heart. As such, it's a work of almost foolish courage. . . . Scene by scene and act by act, in a range of literary registers that moves from the lyrical to the satirical, from theory-laced deconstruction to meat-and-potatoes reportage, he tells the tale of doomed, homemade rebellion against a force much larger than bureaucracy: the meaning-destroying, resource-gulping juggernaut of capitalist economics." --New York Times Book Review
"A riveting in-depth investigation . . . McCann's arresting and brilliant firsthand account is required reading for anyone interested in the ideological gap between the American Left and Right." --starred review, Publishers Weekly
"A momentous and important non-fiction debut . . . The core subject is nothing less than the nature of American identity and the concept of freedom. Admirably, McCann's ethos is not that of a neutral bystander but of a truth seeker. He thinks through viewpoints with depth and empathy, but he also takes stands and calls out the problematic for what it is. . . . This is a heavily researched and thoughtful book, written with detail and care, that asks big questions of the reader and of the country." --starred review, Booklist
"An insider account of the Malheur occupation. From the lead-up to the occupation, through the trials and the aftermath, this will be the defining chronicle of a cultural and political moment we could all do better to understand." --Source Weekly
"McCann's account of the 2016 standoff known as the 'Oregon Occupation' defies categorization but is built out of a non-fiction tradition that stretches back to Joan Didion's California essays, Capote's In Cold Blood, and other ambitious works that begin with a violent transgression and radiate outward to take in large swaths of society during a flashpoint crisis. McCann breaks through the accepted narratives of the standoff to get at deeper truths about land in the west, ranching traditions, activist causes, and a host of other issues so central to today's national divide." --CrimeReads
"The story Shadowlands tells is compulsively fascinating, and an excellent microcosm by which we might better understand our difficult national history and distressing political moment. McCann's magnificent prose, ever-questing intellect, wry humor, and uncommon empathy for human and non-human forms of life alike make Shadowlands a truly rare and stunning achievement." --Maggie Nelson, National Book Critics Circle Award winning author of The Argonauts
"Elegantly rendered and deeply researched, Shadowlands brings seriousness to characters that are easily caricatured, and substance to a subject easily marginalized." --Literary Hub
"Rewarding . . . shreds the reductive narrative foisted upon the occupation, retrieving its participants from caricature." --The Oregonian
"Shadowlands offers fascinating insights and poses interesting questions. . . . a valuable glimpse at a group of often overlooked people contributing to the great divide in American life." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
Anthony McCann is the author of the poetry collections Thing Music, I Heart Your Fate and Moongarden. He currently teaches creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts and in the Low-Residency MFA program of the University of California, Riverside. Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, McCann now lives in the Mojave Desert.
Song for the Unraveling of the World (Coffee House Press)
About Song for the Unraveling of the World:
A newborn's absent face appears on the back of someone else's head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he's after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient's room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human perception. Here, self-deception is a means of justifying our most inhuman impulses--whether we know it or not.
Praise for Song for the Unraveling of the World:
"These stories are carefully calibrated exercises in ambiguity in which Evenson leaves it unclear how much of the off-kilterness exists outside of the deep-seated pathologies that motivate his characters." --Publishers Weekly,starred review
"Evenson's little nightmares are deftly crafted, stylistically daring, and surprisingly emotional." --Kirkus Reviews
"Missing persons, paranoia and psychosis . . . the kind of writer who leads you into the labyrinth, then abandons you there. It's hard to believe a guy can be so frightening, so consistently." --The New York Times
"Evenson is one of our best living writers--regardless of genre . . . Song is a skillfully crafted, cleverly executed, and extremely entertaining collection." --NPR
"Evenson renders the world as a place of infinite and paralyzing delusion. . . . In an Evenson story, a house isn't inescapable because of its lack of doors and windows; it's inescapable because it was built by an impressionable mind." --Los Angeles Review of Books
"To read Evenson is to be privy to a precise, vivid, brilliant unpicking of the everyday--and its others." --China Miéville
"You've heard of 'postmodern' stories--well, Evenson's stories are post-everything. They are post-human, post-reason, post-apocalyptic. . . . in an Evenson story, there are two horrible things that can happen to you. You can either fail to survive, or survive." --The New York Times
"[A] collection of short stories that deal with art, paranoia and the dark urges that haunt even the most normal people." --Los Angeles Times
"Brian Evenson is one of my favorite living horror writers, and this collection is him at his eerie and disquieting best." --Carmen Maria Machado
Brian Evenson is the author of a dozen books of fiction, most recently the story collection Song for the Unraveling of the World (Coffee House Press, 2019). He has also recently published A Collapse of Horses (Coffee House Press 2016) and the novella The Warren (Tor.com 2016). His has been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award fives times. His novel Last Days won the American Library Association's award for Best Horror Novel of 2009. His novel The Open Curtain was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an International Horror Guild Award. Other books include The Wavering Knife (which won the IHG Award for best story collection), Dark Property, and Altmann's Tongue. He is the recipient of three O. Henry Prizes as well as an NEA fellowship, and was a 2018 Guggenheim Recipient. His work has been translated into a dozen languages. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Critical Studies Program at CalArts.
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