Thoughts – The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
By David Grann
I’m writing this review several weeks after finishing the book so this is more a few final thoughts rather than a full review. I wasn’t planning to do a review at all considering I talked about the book a few times already but I kept coming back to it for several reasons so obviously the book made an impression which is why I’m involved in this current exercise.
In case you aren’t familiar with The Lost City of Z, it’s a non-fiction account of British explorer Percy Fawcett’s last expedition into the Amazon jungle in Brazil. He was in search of the legendary, mythical might be a better word, city of El Dorado which was supposed to be a city of gold. He disappeared on his final trip and theories abound as to what happened to him. Grann takes up the story and puts his own twist on it.
Grann is a journalist so the book does in many respects read like a long scientific article. That’s not a bad thing though because in a non-fiction book I prefer a more straightforward style instead of a writer that tries to woo me with fluffy descriptions. Also, the Amazon doesn’t lend itself to descriptions of that sort, especially when one is describing flesh eating bugs — in that case, the less fluffy, less descriptive the better. He does have a very engaging style so please don’t let my scientific article tag scare you off of this one. Grann has a sense of humor and laughs at himself and his lack of even basic camping skills as he prepares to trek off into the jungle in the hopes of understanding Fawcett’s, and now his own, obsession with the Amazon. It’s well researched, as far as I can tell but I know very little about the Amazon, and feels complete even for a book on the short side. When I finished, I did amuse myself with a bit of googling to find out more about both Fawcett and the Amazon so I think he did his job well.
If you’re looking for something interesting, pick this one up. The story Grann tells is a good one.