Archive for August 14, 2010

CLSC Book Seven: The Lost City of Z

David Grann, the author of The Lost City of Z, spoke at Chautauqua this past week, and while most of his talk merely repeated what was already contained in his book, I really enjoyed the Q&A session afterwards.  It was obvious from the answers he gave the audience that he had completed a tremendous amount of research (which was apparent in his book, I suppose, but in some of his answers he mentioned research that was not in the book) and really knew his stuff.

The Lost City of Z is the story of explorer Percy Fawcett who ventured into the Amazon jungle in 1925 to find the mysterious City of Z, and then disappeared.   Search parties turned up with little or no answers.  Grann was able to intertwine two stories in this working of creative nonfiction/literary journalism.  First, there was Fawcett’s story, and then his own story of how he researched the famous explorer’s life and subsequent disappearance. Then, he describes his own journey into the Amazon.  The book is serious — but there’s also humor, and I have to confess that I re-read Grann’s book in preparation for his talk.  I actually read the book for the first time last spring.

I have always been fascinated about unknown locations — I live in a rural area of Pennsylvania and I still think there are many places left untouched by man (that’s a good thing!) Grann’s book reminds me of all the unknown places in the world — both of the past and the present.