my third Vollmann, although I have yet to read any of top three most famous books, Europe Central, Rising Up, or Whores for Gloria. yet, at this point, I might be slightly getting over the whole name-dropping thing about him, having generously given Riding Towards Everywhere the 4 (probably really a high 3), and reconfirming Poor People at the 4/5. Vollmann Vollmann Vollmann. the literari's name-dropped name, coming up so capricously in new york times editorials or in other non-fiction works. is he the elitist's public intellectual?
this very brief "kindle single" reads like exploitation of the Fukushima affair, filled more with Vollmann's updating of his radiation dosage (minimal) than really digging deep into the Fukushima psyche. the northeast of Japan, probably the friendliest area of Japan, was in my personal experience among the only places handing out free little biscuits to travelers (tourists visit Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto... sometimes flying to Sapporo. who ever visited Sendai?), but now of course irretrievably associated with radiation sickness and death.
it's a shame of course. but the silver lining of course is now it's more than ever a budget traveler's area. Vollmann now makes three westerners I know of who visited japan in the aftermath, and although this work was not terribly impressive, at least, if you can borrow a copy off someone it's not completely yawn-inducing.