House of Pain: New and Selected Essays

Overview


Laurence Gonzales began his successful publishing career in 1989 with the publication of The Still Point and later The Hero’s Apprentice (1994), both with the University of Arkansas Press. From these collections of essays he went on to write for renowned magazines in addition to publishing several books. His journalism garnered two National Magazine Awards, and his latest nonfiction book, Surviving Survival, was named by Kirkus as one of the best books of 2012. This new collection of essays shows us the ...
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House of Pain: New and Selected Essays

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Overview


Laurence Gonzales began his successful publishing career in 1989 with the publication of The Still Point and later The Hero’s Apprentice (1994), both with the University of Arkansas Press. From these collections of essays he went on to write for renowned magazines in addition to publishing several books. His journalism garnered two National Magazine Awards, and his latest nonfiction book, Surviving Survival, was named by Kirkus as one of the best books of 2012. This new collection of essays shows us the sometimes hair-raising, sometimes heart-wrenching writing that Gonzales has become known for. This “compelling and trustworthy guide” (Booklist) takes us from a maximum-security prison to a cancer ward, from a mental institution to the World Trade Center. Among the essays included is “Marion Prison,” a National Magazine Award finalist, with its intimate view inside the most maximum security prison in America. “House of Pain” takes the reader into the life of a brain surgeon at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, a grim world that few ever see. “Rites of Spring,” another National Magazine Award finalist, follows Gonzales and his wife on their journey through cancer, not once, but twice. Other stories venture above the Arctic Circle, flying deep into the Alaskan wilderness among grizzly bears and trumpeter swans; explore aerobatics in high-performance aircraft; and eulogize Memphis and Miami as American cities that mourn their fates in uniquely different ways.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/04/2013
National Magazine Award finalist Gonzales (Deep Survival) has always been searching for a sense of "authenticity," harboring a desire to be "annealed in the fires " that marked his adored father's life. This collection represents " attempt to face down danger and prove " in that quest. In these essays and exposés, he explores the edges of the world through his own experiences, as well as through the eyes of an eccentric and disparate group of subjects. Drawing from his travels across America, he relates tales that take place at prisons, circuses, and mental wards. Many of the essays are personal, including his wife's battle with cancer and the stress-filled life of his friend, a public hospital neurosurgeon. The prose is unflinching in its depictions of emotional turmoil and physical pain; depending on one's taste, it will register as poetic and visceral or as theatrical and indulgent, but in either case, evocative. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Gonzales travels where few people might want to go, and he brings back wondrous tales. ...A pleasure for his admirers." --Kirkus Reviews, September 2013

"Gonzales is a brilliant prose stylist who vividly and insightfully takes readers to the scenes and circumstances most would rather not witness firsthand but yearn to comprehend." --Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
Journalist and novelist Gonzales (Lucy, 2010) gathers scattered essays that speak to his current interest as an observer of the human capacity to endure. The author has expressed that interest in books such as Deep Survival (2003) and Surviving Survival (2012), which make one wonder how our species has lasted as long as it has. "In a sense," he writes, "my career as a writer has been a long quest for…authenticity. And these essays are a product of that quest." In the opening essay, Gonzales turns his attention to the federal prison at Marion, Ill., a place that will make readers wonder how anyone survives incarceration--especially among the criminals who are tucked away for safekeeping in this "modern-day replacement for Alcatraz." It might be enough to lament the fate of those whom society has condemned, but Gonzales digs deeper, making it clear that there is good reason for such facilities but also noting a takeaway: Act tough enough without actually killing or maiming someone, and "the guards finally back off and leave you alone." That's good to know, just as it's good to know how to navigate one's way around another kind of prison, a mental hospital, which lends Gonzales a poignant closing image: that of inmates "standing in the rain, trying to figure out the right thing to do." In between, Gonzales visits impenetrable swamps, tightrope walkers, oil rigs, airplane landing strips on the edge of the Arctic Ocean and his own family history--including that adventure that no one wants to have: a bout with cancer. Gonzales travels where few people might want to go, and he brings back wondrous tales. This is more diffuse than his previous books, but it will be a pleasure for his admirers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557289995
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 309
  • Sales rank: 974,145
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Laurence Gonzales is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why and the novel Lucy. He began his publishing career at the University of Arkansas Press with the publication of The Still Point: Essays in 1989.
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