The third book in Charles Bowden’s “Unnatural History of the United States” sextet, Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing continues to interrogate humanity’s destructive actions and responsibilities as we move further into the twenty-first century.
The third book in Charles Bowden’s “accidental trilogy” that began with Blood Orchid and Blues for Cannibals, Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing attempts to resolve the overarching question: “How can a person live a moral life in a culture of death?” As humanity moves further into the twenty-first century, Bowden continues to interrogate our roles in creating the ravaged landscapes and accumulated death that still surround us, as well as his own childhood isolation, his lust for alcohol and women, and his waning hope for a future. We witness post-Katrina New Orleans and terrorist-bombed Bali; we encounter our shared actions with the animal world and the desirous need for consumption; we see the clash and erosion of our physical and figurative borders, the savagery of our own civilization. A man of his time and out of time, Bowden seeks acceptance and a will to endure what may lie ahead.
“A thrillingly good writer whose grandness of vision is only heightened by the bleak originality of his voice.”
Ron Hansen, New York Times Book Review
“Bowden manages to write about these currently unfashionable topics with humor, style, and laconic compression.”
“Here is the new American nature writing—resourceful, funny, personal, full of good facts, words of the locals, hard-hitting but not self-righteous.”
“Bowden is a blood-and-guts journalist with a poet’s sensibility, a noirish naturalist, a ferociously inquisitive witness to life’s glory and horror torn between the desire to embrace the world and the need to hole up in a drapes-drawn motel room . . . Writing with molten urgency, confessional magnetism, and piercing detail, Bowden chronicles his unlikely friendships with a rattlesnake and a desert tortoise, enigmatic encounters with women, the psychic repercussions of his murder investigations, and his part in a terrifying Greenpeace mission. Red wine, Moby Dick, human brutality, the suffering of other species, the obdurateness of paradox, the ambush of love, beauty beyond comprehension, the immensity of loss implicit in our planetary crimes––Bowden, singing in chains, says yes to all of life.”
Donna Seaman, Booklist