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Believing that character and language are inextricably bound, Smith sets out to discern the essence of America by listening to its people and trying to capture its politics. To that end she travels to some of America's most conspicuous places, like the presidential conventions of 1996, and some of its darkest corners, like a women's prison in Maryland. And along the way she interviews everyone from janitors to murderers to Bill Clinton himself. Memoir, social commentary, meditation on language, this book is as vastly ambitious as it is compellingly unique.
"What Smith does with these interviews shows a kind of brilliance that goes straight to the heart."—Los Angeles Times
"Succeeds in teaching one crucial lesson: those who truly listen, truly hear."—The New York Times Book Review
"[A] fascinating, hall-of-mirrors meditation."—San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] book as fascinating for its content as it is beautiful for its poetic form."—Denver Rocky Mountain News
"[This book] succeeds in teaching one crucial lesson: those who truly listen, truly hear."—The New York Times Book Review