It was almost a decade ago that Least Heat-Moon (Blue Highways) followed the trail of Lewis and Clark in River Horse; in the first section of his latest peripatetic writings, he and his wife, Q, trace the lesser-known Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804 through the southern half of the Louisiana Purchase, searching out the head of the Ouachita River in Arkansas. Least Heat-Moon's fans will find this territory, and that covered in the five other "journeys to places a goodly portion of the American populace would call 'nowhere,' " instantly familiar, as he and various companions take digressive paths from one small opolis ("where anything metro was clearly missing") to the next in search of "quoz" (an 18th-century word meaning "anything out of the ordinary"). Among his many adventures, Least Heat-Moon rides a bicycle along an abandoned railroad track, discovers a "road to nowhere"built by a Florida county so local drug smugglers would have a landing strip, and comes up with what he believes is the real story behind the murder of his great-grandfather. Or maybe the highlights of these journeys are the people he meets along the way and their stories, like the man who tried to fund a school for disadvantaged children by providing lonely widows with special massages, or the artist who's turned his cabin into a walk-in kaleidoscope. Either way, few readers will be able to resist tagging along. (Oct. 29)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Roads to Quoz: An American Moseyby William Least Heat-Moon
About a quarter century ago, a largely unknown wanderer named William Least Heat-Moon wrote a book called Blue Highways. It was a travel book like no other, a book that revealed its author to be a chronicler of rare linguitic genius and empathy, a listener who knew that the small places can offer the biggest surprises. Heat-Moon, wrote one reader, was a/em>… See more details below
About a quarter century ago, a largely unknown wanderer named William Least Heat-Moon wrote a book called Blue Highways. It was a travel book like no other, a book that revealed its author to be a chronicler of rare linguitic genius and empathy, a listener who knew that the small places can offer the biggest surprises. Heat-Moon, wrote one reader, was a travel writer as Faulkner was a country historian.
Road to Quoz is Heat-Moon's long-awaited return to America's back roads. It is a lyrical, funny, and magisterially told chronicle of American passage, a journey into the heart of a nation almost desperate for meaning beyond consumerism and self-absorption, a book that invites readers to "discover America anew." (Christian Science Monitor).
Heat-Moon (née William Trogdon) has been a chronicler of small-town America since his Blue Highways: A Journey into America(1982). He has a gift for seeing beauty and mystery in even the remotest areas of the country. In his new book, he and his wife, Jo Ann (who refers to herself as "Q"), set out to explore the Ouachita River, which begins in Mena, AK, and ends in Louisiana. The reason for this journey is as fascinating as the book itself: Thomas Jefferson is famous for initiating the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but few people know of the Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804, referred to by Jefferson as second only to Lewis and Clark's in importance. After discovering Hunter's Journal of an Excursion From Natchez on the Mississippi Up the River Ouachita, he and Q set out to see this largely still remote area of the South. Along the way, they ruminate on Grapette, Jesus Trees, the Goat Woman of Smackover Creek, the Quapaw Ghost Light-as you can see, this is not your typical travel guide. Heat-Moon's journey is as meandering as the Ouachita itself, and readers will relish the experiences he and Q describe along their trip. He has not lost his skills in painting unforgettable portraits of places and people few of us will ever encounter. And, yes, "Quoz" is a word, and its definition sums up the reason for recommending this book to all libraries: "strange, incongruous, unknown, and mysterious."
Joseph L. Carlson
- Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.70(d)
Meet the Author
William Least Heat-Moon is the author of the bestselling classics Roads to Quoz, Blue Highways, River Horse, and PrairyEarth. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.
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