San Francisco Public Library

Lost in summerland, essays, Barrett Swanson

Lost in summerland, essays, Barrett Swanson
no index present
Literary Form
non fiction
Main title
Lost in summerland
Oclc number
Responsibility statement
Barrett Swanson
Sub title
"Across these essays, Barrett Swanson embarks on a personal quest for meaning amid the swirl of our post-truth climate. Traversing the country, he introduces us to Americans who are contending with the aftermath of political and economic collapse and who are striving to recover some semblance of meaning and purpose. "Notes from a Last Man" chronicles a period of personal lostness and considers how the end-of-history preoccupation with wellness and consumerism has led to spiritual desolation among millennials, clearing the way for emergent forms of fascism. The book offer portraits of the ways in which young people have sought to reconstitute meaning and community: political protest and utopianism, self-branding and safe spaces, New Ageism and suicide. At a wilderness retreat center in Ohio, Swanson spends a weekend with a men's group trying help guys reckon with toxic masculinity. Later, in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, Swanson embeds for three months with a group of antiwar veterans who have taken up farming because they can no longer sustain the heroic myths that once drew them into service. Along the backwater fringe of south Florida, he meets an eccentric visionary who has built a life-sized model of a technological utopia, one that draws those disillusioned with capitalism. A trip with his brother to a New York psychic community becomes a rollicking tour through the world of American spiritualism, and when his best friend's body washes up on the shores of the Mississippi River, he falls into the gullet of true crime discussion boards, exploring the stamina of conspiracy theories along the cankered byways of the Midwest. At a moment when grand unifying narratives have splintered into competing storylines, these essays document the many routes by which Americans are struggling to find stability in their lives, sometimes at dire and disillusioning costs. Swanson maps the burdens and virtues of this addled American landscape. Generous and intimate, trenchant and very funny, Lost in Summerland is undergirded by a deep personal investment in these questions, allowing Swanson to reveal what is absurd, and just as often moving, about his subjects. What emerges is a mosaic of stories that is every bit as fractured and complicated as our contemporary moment, affirming that there is beauty in these searches, even when they are doomed"--, Provided by publisher
Table Of Contents
Notes from a last man -- Consciousness razing -- Okay forever -- The soldier and the soil -- Midwestern gothic -- Prophet of the swamp -- Calling audibles -- Flood myths -- Letter from a target-rich environment -- Starving -- Political fictions -- Lost in summerland -- Disaster city -- Church not made with hands
Mapped to

Incoming Resources