25 October, 2021

LitStaff Pick: The Most Important Book I’ve Ever Read

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

I’ve read a lot of great books in my life. The ones that stick out from the pack, I like to call “game changers” — the books that change the way you look at the world in a way so fundamentally that you can’t remember the way you saw it before. Though I have a handful of those on my shelf, the one that would come with me to the proverbial desert island is Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael. In it, Quinn uses the mildly absurd conceit of a telepathic gorilla to tell a story about a different way of looking at the world and humanity’s place in it. It is a sobering tale without a doubt but it also offers hope that if it is a story that has gotten us into the sad place we find ourselves now, it’s a story that will get us out. I may never rise to occasion of writing that story, but cling to the hope that someday, someone will and that we’ll all see the awesome power that fiction can and does play in shaping our expectations for ourselves and the world we’ve inherited.

-Rob Vollmar

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