Reviews in 200 Words

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

In Non-Fiction on April 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Everyone knows what it is to be lost: in a department store as a child, or in an unfamiliar city, alone, driving a smelly rental. You’re frustrated and confused, even scared. But to be lost in the wilderness is something else altogether. To take an unassuming wrong turn and find yourself in thick, wet grass. To lose all sense of direction and find only trees and mud and rocks and wild as you spin–to be thrown up against the very vastness of space–that’s enough to make a body sick, to make a mind fail. “Have you ever heard the sound of a jungle? It’s not what you imagine.” Grann gives his own story: an obsession with an obsession, which focuses on Percy Fawcett–the British colonel who disappeared in the jungle of Brazil with his son in 1925 on their search for the lost civilization known as Z. There’s no denying that the search for something “undiscovered” is attractive, and scary as hell. The Amazon is insane–but, as Fawcett would argue, compared to the horror of war, the primeval wilderness seems calming–compared to the nonsense of war, the wilderness makes perfect sense. The unknown takes hold: the mystery infects.

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