The Meadowlands: wilderness adventures at the edge of a city by Robert Sullivan

Not your typical travel and nature account. Avoiding the glamour and reverence that such writings often offer, Sullivan’s trips involve a series of explorations of the polluted and industrialized ”Meadowlands” of Secaucus, New Jersey. Sullivan takes a wry, wondering, deadpan look at what and whom he encounters: Walden Swamp, with its toxic waste; a mosquito abatement team; an 83-year old man still paddling through the marshes and dreaming of pirate treasure; and a retired detective who identifies the bodies – possibly murder victims – that are found in the swamp.

And yet there are fish, ducks and egrets who thrive in this. And people who dreamed in the past, and others who dream today, that the Meadowlands might be the site of productive development. A very funny and honest and original (given the subject matter I can’t say fresh) view of an area most of us would view with dismay. This gives new meaning to the term “wildlands.”

Reviewed by Sara V.

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