“Lopez’s elegantly distilled tales are striking in their psychological intensity and moral questioning, disarming in their flights of imagination. . . . They shimmer with flashes of wit and beauty, and the radiance of love.” –Chicago Tribune “With somber grace, Lopez parses the facile bumper-sticker slogan ‘the personal is political,’ and discovers in it the potential of a host of private radicalizing experiences. . . . . . . .these small narratives are intimate and mysterious.” –The New York Times Book Review“Lopez has ventured out into territory quite risky and raised important questions. . . that few other fiction writers have made stick.” –San Francisco Chronicle “A poetic testament to the power of the imagination to prevail over the coercion of repressive authority. . . . Remarkable, beautifully conceived and deeply moving.” –Seattle Times“Diamond-sharp . . . sumptuously descriptive . . . Lopez gives us a glimpse of how the sparks fly when individual will digs in against culture’s monolith.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel“Powerfully insightful . . . If you’re looking for a refreshing switch from silliness, you need look no further than Lopez.” –Seattle Post-Intelligencer“9/11 was the day that changed the world forever [and] in his latest collection of short fiction, Barry Lopez addresses the premonitory tremors and staggering aftershocks of that utterly changed world. . . . Eloquent defenses of the natural world, of indigenous peoples, of moderation, of life lived outside the mainstream . . . Lopez’s writing is luminous, almost shamanic, with metaphors and poetic rhythms pulsing from every page.” –L.A. Weekly“A cunning work of fiction likely to provoke anyone with hope of the future to reassess their current strategies for happiness. . . . Through these mesmerizing stories, Lopez challenges us all to pay attention to how well our lives express our deepest values.” –Rocky Mountain News“A manifesto for the 21st century . . . Crammed with action, heartbreak, exotic locales and dangerous ideas . . . potent medicine for readers–especially American readers–exhausted by contemporary events and close to surrender.” –Santa Cruz Sentinel “Barry Lopez is a writer of alchemical powers who transforms tyranny with a brilliance of language into brave acts of conscience and consequence.” –Terry Tempest Williams“Barry Lopez is a rarity–a writer of unembarrassed seriousness. Resistance, his sequence of depositions from nine troubled travellers, is a work of luminous gravity. It sets the oldest wisdoms of myth and landscape against the newest conventions of the West in narratives which are daring, sensuous, beautiful and important.” –Jim Crace“A dynamic and remarkable meditation on engagement. . . . Written against the paranoia that accompanies terrorism and its mirror image, the Patriot Act, Resistance is subtle and persuasive protest literature. . . . Resistance makes explicit the connection between art and politics, suggesting it’s high time they work together again.” –St. Petersburg Times
If it's true the author's erudite, well-meaning characters all sound very much alike, it's also true that one of his goals is to underscore the responsibility of artists to speak as one when speaking truth to power. To his credit, Lopez never sacrifices craft to politics. Like the haunting illustrations (by Alan Magee) that introduce each story, these small narratives are intimate and mysterious.
The New York Times
Lopez, author of the National Book Award-winning Arctic Dreams and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction (Light Action in the Caribbean; Of Wolves and Men; etc.), explores opposition and defiance-to globalization, xenophobia, political and cultural hegemony, conspicuous consumption, environmental degradation-in a slim, brooding collection of timely fictional testimonials. "Apocalypse" sets the stage, as an American curator living in France receives an ominous official letter from "Inland Security," expressing "widespread irritation with our work, and the government's desire to speak with us." Through coded e-mails, he determines that all over the world, friends similarly engaged in "chip[ping] away like coolies at the omnipotent and righteous fa ade" have received the same missive. They agree to vanish, leaving behind a record of their political and spiritual awakenings. In "Mortise and Tenon," a land activist and carpenter reflects on his years of travel, his childhood abuse and an act of terrible violence that put him on a new path toward healing. Vietnam left the narrator of "Traveling with Bo Ling" a "blind eunuch with a face of melted wax," but through the love of a Vietnamese woman, he learns to seek knowledge and experience. In "The Bear in the Road," an attorney searching for a spirit guide in the form of an elusive Plains grizzly struggles with issues of responsibility and inner peace. Many of the nine narrators are wanderers; all of them move toward self-knowledge and engagement; each relates his or her story in the same reserved, dignified voice. Passionate in feeling but cool in rhetoric, these testimonials feel like haunting fragments of committed lives; though not always satisfying as straight fiction, they are powerful as artistic argument, suggesting that resistance is the natural state of the conscious and thoughtful. With nine monotypes by Alan Magee. Agent, Peter Matson. 8-city author tour. (June 13) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Imagine if Ralph Nader had written The Bridge of San Luis Rey-the result would be an artfully told series of interconnected stories burdened by heavyhanded polemics. That pretty much summarizes this latest novel by Lopez (Arctic Dreams). Set in a world dominated by capitalism, machinery, and fundamentalism, it is made up of nine fictional testimonials that chronicle a group of activists who have been called before the "Office of Inland Security" for the crime of "terrorizing the imaginations of our fellow citizens." These narrators-who come from various backgrounds (e.g., veteran, linguist, artisan) and parts of the world-focus on the transformative moment in their lives that led them to discover the injustices of the world. Unfortunately, most of them come off as self-absorbed and unpleasantly righteous. A few pieces, including a moving portrait of a Native American lawyer's vision quest, succeed on their own, but overall the targets of Lopez's vitriol are too obvious and his arguments too shrill to have any lasting resonance. Recommended for comprehensive literature collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/04.]-David Hellman, San Francisco State Univ. Lib. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Nine vignettes framed as letters addressing questions of personal responsibility in a diminished world: obliquely revelatory yet fiercely biting. The letters come from writers and activists on the lam from what may be perceived as threats from the Office of Homeland Security, though Lopez (Light Action in the Caribbean, 2000, etc.), a National Book Award-winner, is not so bald as to state the threat as such (he terms it "Inland Security, the group of people we had come to call the Idiots of Light"). As ever, Lopez's writing is economical, full of silences demanding that the reader unfold the mysteries embedded in them. But the mind's eye is fully nourished; Lopez uses each letter-writer's sense of place as context, circumstance, opportunity, and beauty: seams of lapis lazuli, the braided perfume of orchids and ridisses, the primed landscape that glitters at its edges, "the wordless kinship . . . an elusive and elevated physical sense of being present in the world." Yet place and nature aren't paramount in Lopez's concerns, as is often the case; rather, the inner struggles-devotion to life, love, tolerance, innocence, and ideals of justice-occupy center stage with the force of concentrated light. The letter-writers are indigenous rights workers, social historians, translators, civil rights advocates, land activists, ex-soldiers, curators, and artists, each of them a threat to fear-mongering, indifference, goose-stepping, and state scrutiny. This is because they work to dodge the memory hole-"everything, even the buffalo, is still around . . . as long as people are telling stories about them"-and because they envision "what it can mean to have your country under you like a hammock . . .instead of using your people as fodder in a war to control the world's meaning and expression."Draped lightly on the reader, Lopez's moral fiber offers a protection against diminishment and offers security for acting on awareness, coherence, decency, and grace. (Nine monotypes by Alan Magee.)Agency: Sterling Lord Literistic