NONFICTION

Acid West

MCD:Farrar. Apr. 2018. 416p. maps. notes. ISBN 9780374535803. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780374714154. LIT
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OrangeReviewStarThe subject matter of this debut collection of lyrical nonfiction by author Wheeler (creative writing, Louisiana State Univ.; coeditor, We Might As Well Call It The Lyric Essay) is uniquely American. The idiosyncratic and familial essays are set in the lower Southwest U.S. region; the essays themselves center on southern New Mexico. If readers haven't already considered the particularities of the region, these poetic, postmodern, and highly entertaining writings are a superb introduction. Topics include ethical considerations of the atomic era, the history of the Old West, and UFOs, all seemingly underscored by a backdrop of baseball. A standout piece considers the homefront of the atomic tests that occurred in New Mexico during the last century leading up to the bombs that were used in Japan as an effort to end World War II, a homefront that was permanently impacted by radiation.
VERDICT For lovers of a good postmodern romp through the Old West.

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