Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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“Shacochis has extended his knowledge and imagination into places most of us have never ventured.”—Washington Post

Best known for his sweeping international and political fiction narratives, including The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, which won the Dayton Peace Prize and was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Bob Shacochis began his writing career as a pioneering journalist and contributing editor for Outside Magazine and Harper’s. Kingdoms in the Air brings together the very best of Shacochis’s culture and travel essays in one livewire collection that spans his global adventures and his life passions; from surfing, to his obsession with the South American dorado, to the time he went bushwhacking in Mozambique.

In the titular essay “Kingdoms,” the longest work in the collection, Shacochis ventures to Nepal with his friend, the photographer, Thomas Laird, who was the first foreigner to live in Nepal's kingdom of Mustang as the forbidden Shangri-la prepared to open its borders to trekkers and trade. When the two men return a decade after Laird first lived there, Shacochis observes in brilliantly evocative prose both the current cultural and political landscape of the country and the changes that his friend has to reconcile with.

Replete with Shacochis’s signature swagger, humor, and crystalline wisdom, Kingdoms in the Air is a majestic and essential collection from one of our most important writers.


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About the author

Bob Shacochis’s first collection of stories, Easy in the Islands, won the National Book Award for First Fiction, and his second collection, The Next New World, was awarded the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the author of the novel Swimming in the Volcano, a finalist for the National Book Award, The Immaculate Invasion, a work of literary reportage that was a finalist for The New Yorker Book Award for Best Nonfiction of the Year; and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, which won the Dayton Peace Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Shacochis is a contributing editor at Outside, a former columnist for Gentleman’s Quarterly, and has served as a contributing editor for Harper’s and GQ. His op-eds on the US military, Haiti, and Florida politics have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Jun 7, 2016
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780802190222
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Essays
Political Science / Essays
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Bob Shacochis
Set on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Catherine, an American expatriate becomes unwittingly embroiled in an internecine war between rival factions of the government. Into this potentially explosive scene enters a woman once loved and lost, but who remains a powerful temptation-one that proves impossible to resist.

In the opening pages of Shacochis's first novel, Mitchell Wilson, an American who works for the Ministry of Agriculture on the Caribbean island of St. Catherine, is heading downhill. His lost love, Joanna, has decided to drop into his life again, and he's on his way to the airport to meet her, riding in a dilapidated car whose brakes--dependent on coconut oil for braking fluid--have failed. Wilson's harrowing ride is a perfect metaphor for life on St. Catherine's, an island both beautiful and corrupt, and for the turn his own life is about to take. Joanna may have come to St. Catherine simply to escape trouble, but Wilson still bristles when a government official tells him to stay clear of her. He should have listened. There's a mystery to crack at the heart of this richly detailed novel, but in fact Shacochis offers a chilling evocation of the misunderstandings that arise between feckless Americans and struggling islanders for whom St. Catherine's is no paradise.

At once an enchanting love story and a superbly sophisticated political novel about the fruits of imperialism in the twentieth century, Swimming in the Volcano is as brutally seductive a novel as the world it evokes.
Bob Shacochis
Set on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Catherine, an American expatriate becomes unwittingly embroiled in an internecine war between rival factions of the government. Into this potentially explosive scene enters a woman once loved and lost, but who remains a powerful temptation-one that proves impossible to resist.

In the opening pages of Shacochis's first novel, Mitchell Wilson, an American who works for the Ministry of Agriculture on the Caribbean island of St. Catherine, is heading downhill. His lost love, Joanna, has decided to drop into his life again, and he's on his way to the airport to meet her, riding in a dilapidated car whose brakes--dependent on coconut oil for braking fluid--have failed. Wilson's harrowing ride is a perfect metaphor for life on St. Catherine's, an island both beautiful and corrupt, and for the turn his own life is about to take. Joanna may have come to St. Catherine simply to escape trouble, but Wilson still bristles when a government official tells him to stay clear of her. He should have listened. There's a mystery to crack at the heart of this richly detailed novel, but in fact Shacochis offers a chilling evocation of the misunderstandings that arise between feckless Americans and struggling islanders for whom St. Catherine's is no paradise.

At once an enchanting love story and a superbly sophisticated political novel about the fruits of imperialism in the twentieth century, Swimming in the Volcano is as brutally seductive a novel as the world it evokes.
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