A vibrant, surprising and thought-provoking collection of long-form non-fiction that takes us on a kaleidoscopic exploration of contemporary reality
'Hilarious, nimble and thoroughly illuminating' Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railway
From its opening journey into remote Alaska for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, a quest that culminates on the frozen sea between the United States and Russia, Brian Phillips's Impossible Owls leads us on a kaleidoscopic exploration of contemporary reality. He takes us to a sumo tournament in Japan, where he becomes obsessed with the suicide of a famous writer; to the jungle in India, where he considers the intertwined histories of conservation movements and man-eating tigers; to the studio of a great Russian animator; to a royal tour of the Yukon Teritory with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; and into the weird heart of America, where he visits the gates of Area 51.
Exhilarating, moving and insightful, this remarkable debut visits borders both real and imagined, and asks what it means, in our age, to travel to the end of the map.
'Again and again, Impossible Owls proves that Brian Phillips is a cultural codebreaker of the highest order, unlocking the hidden systems of our mad world. Hilarious, nimble and thoroughly illuminating'
'Impossible Owls takes you deep into worlds both far-flung and familiar - tiger trails, tiny towns of the Yukon, Route 66, a Walmart parking lot. Brian Phillips riffs and reports with abiding curiosity and incisive humour. A fantastic, transporting read'
Brian Phillips is a former staff writer for Grantland and former senior writer for MTV News. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and Slate, among other publications, and his work has appeared in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Magazine Writing. He lives in central Pennsylvania. Impossible Owls is his first book.