The debut work of fiction from the National Book Award-winning author of Europe Central
You Bright and Risen Angels is the work of an extraordinary imagination. In this free-wheeling novel of epic proportions, William T. Vollmann has crafted a biting, hilarious satire of history, technology, politics, and misguided love. In the jungles of South America, on the ice fields of Alaska, the plains of the Midwest, and the streets of San Francisco, a fearsome battle rages. The insects are vying for world domination; the inventors of electricity stand in evil opposition. Bug , a young man, rebels against his own kind and joins forces with the insects. Wayne, a thug, allies himself with the malevolent forces of electricity and vows to assassinate the preying mantis who tends bar in Oregon.
About the Author
William T. Vollmann is the author of ten novels, including Europe Central, which won the National Book Award. He has also written four collections of stories, including The Atlas, which won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a memoir, and six works of nonfiction, including Rising Up and Rising Down and Imperial, both of which were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His journalism and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Harpers, Esquire, Granta, and many other publications.
Date of Birth:July 28, 1959
Place of Birth:Santa Monica, California
Education:Attended Deep Springs College and Cornell University
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Outrageous, difficult, head-scratching, odd, hilarious, unpleasant, disgusting. All of those things in pretty equal measure. And probably the funniest and brightest of Vollmann's work, to which my exposure is admittedly yet somewhat limited. Smacks a bit of a first author trying too hard to reach for everything and just slightly missing the mark, but You Bright and Risen Angels is fiery, if a little unfocused, genius.
If you want to find out what Vollman is about, this is the best place to start and I would say, having read 3 other books by him, that this is his best work. There is a lot of familiar territory for folks who enjoy Gravity's Rainbow and JR. But Vollman is his own writer and of the young hotshots who emerged in the late 80's and early 90's--Richard Powers, David Foster Wallace--Vollman is the best writer. Nothing ever seems forced with Vollman and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry, computer hardware, American history and pop culture which he finds ways to mesh into a world vision without just showing off. Explaining too much about this book would be a mistake. On the one hand, we have monopolistic power; on the other, fanatical rebels. Sound familiar?
Vollmann displays a deft handling of words and a true mastership of modern storytelling. Reading this novel, (the three others I read by him were not as good) one is reminded of the true power and delight of writing. The book professes to be a cartoon (a comically sadistic, surrealistic one at that!) about the 'Insect Wars': insects versus humans in a never-ending battle for world domination. Electric power monopolies, ethereal and sinister, 'Blue Globes' and the (literally) immortal CEO and sadist Mr. White, of 'White Power & Light' electric company, are the foils to the main character 'Bug', a disaffected white middleclass kid who becomes a merciless guerilla with the aid of insect homing devices. Modern writing at it's best.