Book Review: The Lost City of Z – David Grann [TSS]

Title: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Author: David Grann
ISBN: 9781400078455
Pages: 448
Release Date: February 24, 2009
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

David Grann discusses the search for the lost city of “Z” in the Amazon, as well as the stories of the many explorers that became obsessed with finding it.  He starts his own quest in order to determine what happened to the explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925.

Review:

I had heard a lot of great things about The Lost City of Z by David Grann, so when I was at Politics & Prose Bookstore with Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog for an author event (see my post about it), I decided I was going to pick it up.  I didn’t leave it languishing on the TBR pile long, though, and read it a few weeks later.

I really enjoyed The Lost City of Z.  This isn’t really an archaeological mystery; instead, it’s the tale of Percy Fawcett, and the puzzle of what happened to him after disappeared in the Amazon.  As the book progresses, the reader can tell that Grann is getting more and more sucked into the obsession with the Lost City of Z.  It’s funny that a lot of people’s interest in this subject starts with Fawcett, but ends up fixating on “Z.”  Grann falls prey to that, even as he is describing it happen to others in the book.

Grann’s descriptions are really incredible in The Lost City of Z.  He does an amazing job of vividly depicting the Amazon jungle, with such detail and clarity that the reader should have no trouble imagining the setting in their head.  In fact, at times he does it too well – after reading this book, any illusions about an extended trip to the Amazon have been shattered, between the bugs and flesh eating fish!

I have to admit, even when I started this book I knew deep down that the ending wouldn’t satisfy me.  I’m not happy when everything isn’t neatly wrapped up into a package (preferably with a little bow on top!) and I just knew that wasn’t possible with this book.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I was really happy with the ending.  True, all loose ends aren’t tied up, but Grann does a great job making the reader feel content with how The Lost City of Z ends.

I enjoyed The Lost City of Z and am really glad I picked it up and didn’t put off reading it!  It was an entertaining and rewarding read and I definitely recommend it.

Comments

  1. we have the same thoughts on endings – I really want to know how everything concludes so it intrigues me that this one was satisfying without being prefectly neat. I enjoy all your reviews!

  2. we have the same thoughts on endings – I really want to know how everything concludes so it intrigues me that this one was satisfying without being prefectly neat. I enjoy all your reviews!

  3. I’ve been really wanting to read this. It was rated as one of the best reads in 2009 by EW, AND my sister, the non-reader, loved it. This is one of those books that I know I will read someday. Great review, and thanks for letting me know that the ending satisfies. I never would have imagined that would be possible with the story line!

  4. I’ve been really wanting to read this. It was rated as one of the best reads in 2009 by EW, AND my sister, the non-reader, loved it. This is one of those books that I know I will read someday. Great review, and thanks for letting me know that the ending satisfies. I never would have imagined that would be possible with the story line!

  5. I have *got* to get to this. I’ve actually had an ARC since before it was released. I’m glad you and Rebecca liked it so much.

  6. I have *got* to get to this. I’ve actually had an ARC since before it was released. I’m glad you and Rebecca liked it so much.

  7. Sounds like my kind of book. I don’t need to have the ending tied with a bow, just somehow satisfying will do.

  8. Sounds like my kind of book. I don’t need to have the ending tied with a bow, just somehow satisfying will do.

  9. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. I’m glad to see the ending is satisfying, because I like neat little bows at the end too.

  10. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. I’m glad to see the ending is satisfying, because I like neat little bows at the end too.

  11. I’ve seen so much about this book but for some reason just keep putting off actually picking it up. I might just have to move it up the wishlist though, especially with a good ending.

  12. I’ve seen so much about this book but for some reason just keep putting off actually picking it up. I might just have to move it up the wishlist though, especially with a good ending.

  13. I really enjoyed your review, and, had I not read it, I might not have given this book a try. But now I will…thanks!

  14. I really enjoyed your review, and, had I not read it, I might not have given this book a try. But now I will…thanks!

  15. So glad you enjoyed it! I don’t have that thing about endings–in fact, I’m often turned off my neat endings w/ bows on top–and actually prefer ambiguity in many cases, so I’m glad the ending was satisfying for you.

    I picked up Grann’s new book THE DEVIL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES recently and think I’ll give it a peek today.

  16. So glad you enjoyed it! I don’t have that thing about endings–in fact, I’m often turned off my neat endings w/ bows on top–and actually prefer ambiguity in many cases, so I’m glad the ending was satisfying for you.

    I picked up Grann’s new book THE DEVIL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES recently and think I’ll give it a peek today.

  17. I have this book SITTING IN THE NEXT ROOM! It’s from the library. Unfortunately, soon after I received it, I got on a French reading kick, and I can’t seem to find time to read it!

    I’m hosting a giveaway on my Sunday Salon post today. I plan to give away two $10 gift cards to Amazon on Easter Sunday. I hope you will stop by and sign up!

  18. I have this book SITTING IN THE NEXT ROOM! It’s from the library. Unfortunately, soon after I received it, I got on a French reading kick, and I can’t seem to find time to read it!

    I’m hosting a giveaway on my Sunday Salon post today. I plan to give away two $10 gift cards to Amazon on Easter Sunday. I hope you will stop by and sign up!

  19. Darn–I had this one in my Powell’s Books shopping cart the other night and dropped it for one of my book club books. Now I’m going to have to wait for another gift card because I’ve banned myself from buying books and even going to the library!

  20. Darn–I had this one in my Powell’s Books shopping cart the other night and dropped it for one of my book club books. Now I’m going to have to wait for another gift card because I’ve banned myself from buying books and even going to the library!

  21. Wow… now I am not into anything non-fiction but this one does sound so good! And I didnot know about the Lost City of Z.
    I am going to look out for this one here.

  22. Wow… now I am not into anything non-fiction but this one does sound so good! And I didnot know about the Lost City of Z.
    I am going to look out for this one here.

  23. I’ve been wanting to read this for ages, but can’t seem to ever get it worked in! Your review definitely encouraged me to work it in faster!

  24. I’ve been wanting to read this for ages, but can’t seem to ever get it worked in! Your review definitely encouraged me to work it in faster!

  25. I remember seeing this one on several Best of the Year nonfiction lists in December, but it had completely fallen off my radar. Thanks for reminding me about it. I’ve been enjoying nonfiction a lot this year, and I hope to get to it soon!

  26. I remember seeing this one on several Best of the Year nonfiction lists in December, but it had completely fallen off my radar. Thanks for reminding me about it. I’ve been enjoying nonfiction a lot this year, and I hope to get to it soon!

  27. This is exactly the kind of non-fiction I enjoy. It’s been recommended to me a bunch of times, so I have no idea why I’ve yet to pick it up. I’m glad to hear the ending was satisfying!

  28. This is exactly the kind of non-fiction I enjoy. It’s been recommended to me a bunch of times, so I have no idea why I’ve yet to pick it up. I’m glad to hear the ending was satisfying!

  29. I have this on my list to read. Nice review.

  30. I have this on my list to read. Nice review.

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