These eleven essays span continents, culture, and class. Fiction writer and essayist Charles D'Ambrosio inspects manufactured homes in Washington state; tours the rooms of Hell House, a Pentecostal "haunted house" in Texas; visits the dormitories and hallways of a Russian orphanage in Svrstroy; and explored the textual space of family letters, at once expansive and claustrophobic. In these spaces, or the people who inhabit them, he unearths a kind of optimism, however guarded. He introduces us to a defender of gray whales; the creator of Biosquat, a utopian experiment in Austin, Texas; and a younger version of himself, searching for "culture" in Seattle in 1974. He analyzes the nuances of Mary Kay Letourneau's trial and contemplates the persistence of rain and of memory.
January 2005 : USA Paperback