Dont believe that William T. Vollmanns latest work, Imperial, is merely a California book because it explores the Imperial Valley, an amorphous rural and agricultural region southeast of L.A. Imperial is more a tale of the West, and thus is really the tail end of the dogged America that old bitch Manifest Destiny once birthed.
The photo captures Bill Clinton and Al Gore, youthful and vigorous, lifetimes away from Lewinsky and the 2000 election. Clintons smiling face leans toward Gores, as if he has just made some jovial remark, and Gore smiles in response. Each man gazes out beyond the photos frame with all the confidence and hope that the newly elected, upstart duo inspired back then.
Roberto Bolaños books should be stacked on your bedside table. They should be battered and dog-eared, coffee stained, and creased.