Bloodbath Nation by Paul Auster [8/10]

Bloodbath Nation” tackles, with passion and Paul Auster’s impeccable flowing prose, why the United States has seen more than a million and half killings by guns. Photographer Spencer Ostrander travels to gun massacre sites after such events, and composes haunting stills with no humans in them, and these photographs, interspersed regularly through the text, cast an eerie glow over Auster’s words. Auster recounts his own encounters with guns, including the never-ending trauma of his grandmother having shot his grandfather to death. To a non-American, the situation is scarcely credible but the book hammers home the manifest tragedies by spending quite some time on the most horrendous mass shootings. Bloodbath Nation is concise and Auster seems to hold no hope for resolving the societal deadlock on the issue of gun control, but this is a most useful and moving forensic examination of the issue.

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