finished reading...

From the publisher:
Radio meets print journalism in this slim, entertaining anthology of outtakes from Carrier's last 20 years as a writer, hitchhiker, radio producer and occasional war correspondent. The book consists of stories originally broadcast on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Public Radio International's This American Life; magazine articles originally published in Harper's and Esquire; and a narrative detailing Carrier's obsessive attempts to literally run down a pronghorn antelope. As with all anthologies, some pieces are more successful than others. The best story, "The Test," chronicles a temp job in which Carrier interviewed people on Medicaid support for schizophrenia, taking the agonizing responses and reducing them to statistics and cold data; in the piece's shattering climax, Carrier turns inward and forces himself to answer the same questions. Other stories focus on Carrier's rough-and-tumble encounters with memorable, oddball characters like his brother (a vertebrate morphologist who collected roadkill in the name of science) or the fundamentalist carpenters of "Windfall" (who were obsessed with Star Trek, the Trilateral Commission and Ted Kennedy). The least effective parts are Carrier's experiments as a foreign correspondent in Kashmir, Cambodia, and Chiapas, Mexico, where his touristic narratives are too thin for the gravity of the tragedies he's writing about. ("You'll never figure it out in ten days," a woman in Chiapas told him angrily. "It's pretty arrogant and stupid to even think you could.") The rest of the book, however, is more perceptive and honest, as well as funny.

I liked the voice. It made me look up his stories on the NPR website so I could hear him as well as read him. It was our book group selection and we had plenty to talk about.

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