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Resistance Hardcover – June 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400042208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400042203
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lopez, author of the National Book Award–winning Arctic Dreams and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction (Light Action in the Caribbean; Of Wolves and Men; etc.), explores opposition and defiance—to globalization, xenophobia, political and cultural hegemony, conspicuous consumption, environmental degradation—in a slim, brooding collection of timely fictional testimonials. "Apocalypse" sets the stage, as an American curator living in France receives an ominous official letter from "Inland Security," expressing "widespread irritation with our work, and the government's desire to speak with us." Through coded e-mails, he determines that all over the world, friends similarly engaged in "chip[ping] away like coolies at the omnipotent and righteous façade" have received the same missive. They agree to vanish, leaving behind a record of their political and spiritual awakenings. In "Mortise and Tenon," a land activist and carpenter reflects on his years of travel, his childhood abuse and an act of terrible violence that put him on a new path toward healing. Vietnam left the narrator of "Traveling with Bo Ling" a "blind eunuch with a face of melted wax," but through the love of a Vietnamese woman, he learns to seek knowledge and experience. In "The Bear in the Road," an attorney searching for a spirit guide in the form of an elusive Plains grizzly struggles with issues of responsibility and inner peace. Many of the nine narrators are wanderers; all of them move toward self-knowledge and engagement; each relates his or her story in the same reserved, dignified voice. Passionate in feeling but cool in rhetoric, these testimonials feel like haunting fragments of committed lives; though not always satisfying as straight fiction, they are powerful as artistic argument, suggesting that resistance is the natural state of the conscious and thoughtful. With nine monotypes by Alan Magee.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the opening short story in National Book Award-winning Lopez's latest hard-hitting and startlingly original collection, which follows the astonishing Light Action in the Caribbean (2000), an American living in Paris receives an alarming letter from his homeland's Office of Inland Security, informing him that because he and his far-flung circle of fellow writers, scholars, and artists are "terrorizing the imaginations of our fellow citizens" with their antidemocratic works, they will be "sought out" and dealt with. Owen and his friends quickly exchange e-mails before going underground, testifying to the personal traumas that inspired their adamant resistance to their country's beliefs in war, the pursuit of wealth, rampant materialism, conformity, and complacency. The self-invented pilgrims Lopez imagines have either survived abuse and violence or resisted the numbing comforts of privileged lives. Men and women living all around the world, they include a cabinetmaker, historian, indigenous rights expert, translator, architect, and physician. Boldly conceived and beautifully formed, Lopez's bracing and courageous tales of spiritual awakenings and ecological perceptions elucidate the heroism inherent in resistance to all forms of fundamentalism, greed, insularity, fearmongering, and self-righteousness. Dramatic, unique, and provocative, these are essential stories for polarized times. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Nonetheless, if you are a fan of Lopez or of activist literature, this volume is worth a read.
M. J. Smith
In the end I found the 'resistance' of the real author to any kind of role-playing somewhat off-putting.
Robert Carlberg
Lopez is one of our finest thinkers, writers, and interpreters of the moral difficulties of our time.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Ron Franscell, Author of 'The Darkest Night' on June 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For anyone old enough to know the difference between Joe and Jenny McCarthy, the vernacular of Homeland Security might seem like deja vu all over again, merely substituting the word "terrorist" in the verbal cranny formerly occupied by "communist."
And while Barry Lopez certainly doesn't argue the clear and present danger real terrorists pose to Americans, he goes to great lengths in "Resistance" -- neither a novel nor short-story collection, but a fictional dossier of distress -- to point out the cure might be almost as abhorrent as the pox.
It is nine personal tales of disaffection, pain and flight. A blinded Vietnam veteran grapples with the horror of war and his own participation in it. A lame carpenter wandering through India meets some attackers with uncommon ferocity and his existence is transformed. A young woman contemplates ancient ways and human evolution on a camel trek across an Asian desert.
Each fictional autobiographical essay -- also presumably left in plain sight as the writer flees a different foreign city ahead of faceless American authorities -- is accompanied by a haunting monotype by artist Allen Magee. The imaginative blend of words and art, especially the wounded faces of Magee's unique portraits, is rare in fiction and, in this case, evocative.
For all its imaginative value, "Resistance" is not above a few small criticisms.
Primarily, the passionate and post-modern Lopez -- the National Book Award-winning author of "Arctic Dreams" and "Light Action in the Caribbean" -- doesn't differentiate the voices of his nine characters enough to give them the uniqueness of humanity. They all seem to share Lopez's voice, and as singular as it is, the reader encounters them more as nine version of the same individual rather than nine distinctive people.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caelan Baldridge Heywood on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Barry Lopez continues in Resistance the legacy he established in Of Wolves and Men: an intelligent, balanced estimation of the conditions that underlie our human experiences in the late twentieth/early twenty-first century, the psychological conditions that motivate us to try to do something other than follow the trajectories of agribusiness, mass media, our beloved iPhones . . . .local and human-scaled economies seem to be the only possibility left in the collapse of globalization, which is currently manifesting itself in multiple ways, underwritten by the twinned realities of climate change and peak oil . . . Lopez anticipates these conditions, and imagines how we might live otherwise, committed to alternative values . . .because this was written in 2005, it was hard to imagine what might happen "what if" there were something like grid crash, which becomes an omnipresent reality in 2010 . ..
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Bergstrom on July 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It does not try for the attainments of great literature, but this little book is well worth reading. It may remind you of Ursula K Leguin - the loving attention to various traditional ways of life, attention to how perceptions and relationships can mature a long time, then shift to a new level - if people are willing to let anything mature for a long time, in this new age of instant insights and inexorable progress. A chilling little dystopian framework holds the chapters lightly together, putting everything in an ominous light.
But all the threat comes from very far away - they would be serious stories, rather than just sketches, if some of the characters themselves showed some greed or selfishness, or any of the other faults of Mordor (I mean, Washington). Like when we used to say, the battle line runs through the human heart. But, they are excellent sketches (one of the characters makes sketches), altogether a very nice addition to Lopez's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philippe Vandenbroeck VINE VOICE on January 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's a bit unfortunate, maybe, that this collection of vignettes opens with a story set against the background of the war on terrorism. That seems to have created the suggestion that the whole book is about positioning oneself with respect to this insidious conflict. That's not the way I read the book. And I don't think it is necessary to do it justice. Quite to the contrary. The resistance that Lopez refracts through the prism of various personalities is a refusal of all kinds of `dictatorial powers': the numbing traumas of loss and conflict, the trap of overrationalization, our quest for control, a deceptive belief in moral superiority, the curse of greed, and even simply our craving for our peers' acceptance and recognition. Some of these forces have been so long part of our lifeworld that we simply take them for granted. Others, such as the war on terror, present us with fresh dilemmas of citizenship. The protagonists of these stories try to extricate themselves from the debilitating grasp of these forces through acts of resistance, some heroic, others tentative. This is not a book about bravery, however, but about a clenched-teeth kind of vigilance for the capillary mechanisms of control and regimentation that are buried in our early-21st century, technocratic, capitalist and monomaniac society. "When you are worn out, dictatorial powers - it makes no difference whether you are the victim or a perpetrator - exert an attraction. Giving in so much more appealing than going on" (p. 152). Lopez' "Resistance" is about going on, about being on the move in an attempt to avoid being crushed by the juggernaut, to keep away from the temptation to sell out and give in. The critique that all the voices in the book are in some way recognisably the same voice, is not totally unjustified.Read more ›
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