Gilbert Cruz
January 18, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Riding Toward Everywhere

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
William T. Vollmann
publisher
Ecco Press
genre
Nonfiction, Memoir

We gave it a B-

Again and again in Riding Toward Everywhere, his account of riding freight trains in the 21st century, William T. Vollmann repeats a perfectly American longing for escape: ”I’ve got to get out of here.” Furious with the arrogance of authority — worse, he believes, under the Bush administration — the author embarks on his anachronistic journey, steering clear of the law (”railroad bulls”) and ruminating on the beauty of the West as seen through the door of a boxcar. Perhaps he ruminates too much, as he often slips into an impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness style that at several points rapidly approaches Kerouac lite. B-

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