OVERRIDE

American Smoke

Journeys to the End of the Light

Iain Sinclair

Faber & Faber

The visionary writer Iain Sinclair turns his sights to the Beat Generation in America in his most epic journey yet

“How best to describe Iain Sinclair?” asks Robert Macfarlane in The Guardian. “A literary mud-larker and tip-picker? A Travelodge tramp (his phrase)? A middle-class dropout with a gift for bullshit (also his phrase)? A toxicologist of the twenty-first-century landscape? A historian of countercultures and occulted pasts? An intemperate WALL-E, compulsively collecting and compacting the city’s textual waste? A psycho-geographer (from which term Sinclair has been rowing away ever since he helped launch it into the mainstream)? He’s all of these, and more.”
     Now, for the first time, the enigma that is Iain Sinclair lands on American shores for his long-awaited engagement with the memory-filled landscapes of the American Beats and their fellow travelers.
     A book filled with bad journeys and fated decisions, American Smoke is an epic walk in the footsteps of Malcolm Lowry, Charles Olson, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, and others, heated by obsession (the Old West, volcanoes, Mexico) and enlivened by false memories, broken reports, and strange adventures.
     With American Smoke, Sinclair confirms his place as the most innovative of our chroniclers of the contemporary.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Two Men Smoking


 
and sees all things and to him
are presented at night
the whispers of the most flung shores
from Gloucester out
– Ed Dorn
 
 
It was the season of autumn ghosts, a dampness in the soul. 2011 and London had lost its savour. A good step beyond midway through my dark wood of the world, I came to America, hoping to reconnect with the heroes of my youth. The largest, the most light-occulting of all the giants, that earlier race, was Charles Olson: poet, scholar and last rector of Black Mountain College. This establishment, a scatter
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Iain Sinclair

  • Iain Sinclair is the author of Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award); Landor’s Tower; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky’s Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); Radon Daughters; London Orbital; Dining on Stones; Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire; and Ghost Milk. He is also the editor of London: City of Disappearances.
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American Smoke

Journeys to the End of the Light

Iain Sinclair

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