House of Pain

House of Pain

These are the essays that shaped Laurence Gonzales's unique voice and insight for such best sellers as his Deep Survival. From the depths of a maximum security prison to the cancer ward, from the insane asylum to the World Trade Center, Gonzales puts you there in the middle of the action with a skill that grips you from the first sentence. Sometimes hair-raising, sometimes heart wrenching, these essays will stay with you long after you've put the book down. Among them is Marion Prison, a National Magazine Award finalist, with its unprecedented intimate view inside the most maximum security prison in America. The title essay, House of Pain, takes the reader into the world of a brain surgeon at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, a grim and gritty world that few ever see. And The Rites of Spring follows Gonzales and his first wife, Carolyn Lorence, on their journey through cancer, not once, but twice. This essay was also a finalist for the National Magazine Award.

Some essays take a more contemplative tone, while still immersing the reader in that world at the boundary between life and death. In Bush Pilots, we journey above the Arctic Circle flying deep into the Alaskan wilderness among grizzly bears and trumpeter swans. No More Immelmans is a meditation on the author's favorite sport, aerobatics in high-performance aircraft, a pursuit that ends badly when the instructor he shared with Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford is killed in an accident. And two of the essays amount to elegies for Memphis and Miami, American cities that mourn their fates in uniquely different ways.

Through these tales, spanning more than three decades, one of America's finest writers, captures the kaleidoscopic and singular life of terror, loneliness, longing, and pain that make up our world and that are so reliably atoned for by exhilaration and beauty.