In an attempt to understand the "characteristics of poverty," journalist and National Book Award winner William T. Vollmann asks victims of poverty worldwide, "why are you poor?"
Some believe it is their destiny and some accept it as the corollary of an imbalanced society; regardless, it results in an inevitable "mutual class invisibility called segregation."
Although Vollmann's tone may at times seem egregiously pretentious and his writing repetitive, Poor People is an introspective, thought-provoking book enriched (ironically) by his distinct, poetic narrative.
“Life is an extended camping trip. With a leaky, inferior tent one runs no more risk of rain than anyone else; but if it does rain, the person in the cheap tent chances soaking in his sleeping bag, and possibly dying of hypothermia.”
Other books by William T. Vollmann: Europe Central, Rising Up and Rising Down