Story Quest

April 30, 2009

I’m lost in the Lost City of Z. When I open the book in bed at night, my world disappears. Reality becomes author David Grann‘s riveting account of the obsessive hunt for a place that may have never existed.

Grann had phenomenal material without visiting what may be the remotest place on Earth. His adventure, blended discreetly into a multi-layered story, brings the narrator alive on the page and leavens his dire accounts of explorers forever lost in Amazon jungle.

I’ve imagined how Grann might have felt when he discovered — not in the jungle — a treasure of diaries and letters belonging to the main character, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared with his party in 1925.

It’s hard not to wish for such material as I venture out on my own quest, research to recreate lives and events long ago lived in the Northwest. No matter what I find, Grann’s style and structure have inspired me. At times I see through his writer’s eye, a camera zooming in and out, prone to wide pans to the horizon and beyond.

More inspiring is a slipppery feeling that might only be a mind playing tricks: in territory as foreign to me as jungle, a story beckons.