cover image Farewell Transmission: Notes from Hidden Spaces

Farewell Transmission: Notes from Hidden Spaces

Will McGrath. Dzanc, $16.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-950539-50-5

Memoirist McGrath (Everything Lost Is Found Again) brings sharp observations and keen curiosity to these globe-trotting essays. In “A Noose in Hentiesbaai,” he visits a beach town in Namibia and explores the different stories residents tell about how a noose came to hang from a tree in the town square. In “The Open Pits,” McGrath goes to a diamond mine in Lesotho, where his whiteness gains him access to the camp’s executive spaces and he’s witness to stomach-churning casual racism: “I wanted to document all the ways these men were gentle and loving and seeped full of racial bile... their empathy cored out and replaced with an incurious blankness about those with whom they shared their days.” In “Ballad of the Curtain Jerker,” a chance invitation sends the author on a rollicking tour of Minneapolis’s burgeoning indie wrestling scene, which fuses “Looney Tunes anarchy with wild athleticism and a healthy dose of internet-age self-awareness.” A few pieces lean perilously close to navel-gazing, but for the most part the author’s adept at capturing the world with a buoyant sense of wonder. Armchair travelers will find much to appreciate in these affable, empathetic musings. Agent: Rachel Vogel, DCL Agency. (Aug.)