William T. Vollmann

California and the literature of water

California and the literature of water

On a recent visit to New York, I found myself in a conversation with an East Coast writer about William T. Vollmann’s “Imperial” — a monumental study of water politics and Southern California’s Imperial County — when he said, “I’m so sick of you Californians and your obsession with water. When will you get over it?”

The answer, of course, is never. The other answer is: Just wait. Water as resource, water as political and conservational hot button … it’s coming for you.

I couldn’t help recalling this as I read Steven Johnson’s terrific piece “Let It Rain: Why California’s Water Crisis is Everyone’s...

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