Love and Ruin: Tales of Obsession, Danger, and Heartbreak from ‘The Atavist’ Magazine

Edited by Evan Ratliff. Norton, $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-35271-9
In 2011, at the height of chest-clutching panic about the state of reporting in the era of blogs and Tumblr, editor Ratliff, along with partners Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson, founded the Atavist, definitively and resoundingly proving that quality long-form journalism is alive and kicking. The 10 stories collected here are the best works of the digital periodical’s first five years, displaying an eclectic variety in style and subject. The “obsession” of the subtitle seems to be the unifying theme. Some standouts include “52 Blue” by Leslie Jamison, the story of the “loneliest whale in the world” and his fervent fans, who see themselves reflected in him; “American Hippopotamus” by Jon Mooallem, the unlikely tale of two lifelong enemies who united under the banner of importing African hippos to America, only to end up antagonists again; and “A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite” by Adam Higginbotham, about how one terrifying, desperate, and charismatic man built the most complex amateur bomb the FBI had ever seen. (The latter two pieces have been optioned for film.) This vital collection is sure to win the Atavist many new devotees, and is a must for established fans who missed any of these pieces. Agent: David Kuhn and William LoTurco, Kuhn Projects. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-393-35272-6
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