Photo above is credited to the NY times
I cannot stress enough that you NEED to read Vollmann, no matter who you are. As a warning, he will ruin all other authors for you. Hemingway will become a hack [he always was anyways], Kerouac’s writings will become childish. Vollmann is the writer that a writer wants to be, with every word flowing poetically and intricately through the pages leaving you hanging on every word, salivating for more. My first book by Vollmann was ’13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs’. I highly recommend that you start there too. I’m moving onto my second book of his, ‘The Rainbow stories’. You’ll notice upon turning over the book, there are no summaries. He needs none, as ‘Vollmann’ is summary enough. You know what he’ll write about, and it won’t get old. Prostitutes, San Francisco, sperm, Thailand, Elaine Suicide. Ideas, actions, bodily fluids that make up entire environments and go on for pages and make you cry not only for the sorrow they tell of, but for the poems they form.
The above photo, as you might have guessed, is Vollmann himself. He is involved in his stories, by which I mean that they are nearly autobiographical. His contemporary writings spill words so genuine that it couldn’t come from anyone who hasn’t lived the lives that such a fiction contains. I am overly excited to start ‘The Rainbow Stories’, but I know it will mean suffering through gut-wrenching, gritty tales that I myself can identify with.
So please, do yourself a favor. Burn your Burroughs, piss on your Hemingway. Pick up your Vollmann and vomit your way through the stories of one of the best writers to have ever lived.