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The Atlas by William T. Vollmann

The Atlas by William T. Vollmann

The Atlas by William T. Vollmann

The Atlas

Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1993)

Coming up the windy tunnel to Yonge Street, I found the boy, happily escaped, and running towards me amidst leaves and prayers blowing in circles. Men ran with their heads down, holding the brims of their caps. The boy begged me to bring him back over the feathery water of the windy lake to that khaki and ocher island of dying-leaved trees which lay so low in the lake that only windstruck people could find it. When I asked him how he knew about it, he said that his mother had told him. Then I knew that I had misconstrued my misconstruction, that she had been talking to me. I refused him, led him back through rolled up leaves like trilobites on the sidewalks, and by subway we returned to the apple-colored maple leaves which curled on the trees of his neighborhood, swarming and wriggling down over the house pillars where girls in thick Indian sweaters and beaver earmuffs ran shivering. The lady in the long velvet jacket was waiting for us. As she leaned forward to kiss me, the warm sighing breezes of her mouth reached my heart, and I melted into a puddle of water.

William T. Vollmann

About the Author

The William T. Vollmann Homepage
Some An Interview with William T. Vollmann
William T. Vollmann Collection
Signed, Vollmann


Vollmann delves into sadness the way Wallace delves into neurotica and Pynchon or Burroughs into paranoia. His historical novels mix past and present the way Aragon does (to whom he quotes in "The Royal Family"), and like Aragon and Delany he explores the borders of eroticism. Vollmann also made a few sketches of and for Teresa Halford.