Most of us couldn't hang with William T. Vollmann's approach to tourism. The man lingers in the poorest slums of the world's poorest nations until he's sampled that region's most devastating drugs, most exotic diseases, and, yes, its most downtrodden women-of-the-evening. He's courted much criticism in the past for his fascination with prostitutes — and, to be sure, prostitutes aplenty pop up in this meandering, intuitive rumination on global poverty — but credit Vollmann with striving to overcome well-intentioned liberal platitudes about the "other" and get down in the trenches, gleaning globs of hard-won wisdom from some of the world's unluckiest people: Chernobyl clean-up crewmen are just the tip of the iceberg. The very human warmth and equally human outrage at the core of it all is shattering — as is the outstanding quality of the writing. Give this guy a Nobel already.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.