Live via Zoom:
Thursday, September 10, 7:30 PM ET
Kerri Arsenault presents Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains
In conversation with Ben Fountain
Book critic Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working-class town of Mexico, Maine, which orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for most townspeople. Yet, as Arsenault discovered years after moving away, the mill also contributed to the destruction of the environment and the decline of the town’s economic, physical, and emotional health in a slow-moving catastrophe, earning the area the nickname “Cancer Valley.” Arsenault’s book Mill Town is an autoethnographic investigation, where Arsenault sifts through historical archives and scientific reports, talks to family and neighbors, and examines her own childhood to illuminate the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxics and disease. Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? Joining Arsenault in conversation is award-winning author Ben Fountain, author most recently of Beautiful Country Burn Again, a sweeping work of reportage set over the course of 2016, which incisively fuses history and the present day to paint a startling portrait of the state of our nation.