This review originally appeared on WorldOfJoel.com
In a couple of week's I'll be boarding a flight to Machu Picchu in a couple of weeks and I wanted to read a novel about it and the surrounding area. Well, I realized early on that The Lost City of Z was not referring to Machu Picchu but instead the quest to find The City of Z (also known as El Dorado). Yet, after the first ten pages, the idea of reading about one man's insane quest into the Amazon sounded intriguing so I persisted.
Sadly, this is one of those non-fiction novels that feels like it's consistently grasping at straws. As the title suggests you are taken on the journey of Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, a man with the dream of finding The Lost City of Z. Also as the title suggests, he's obsessed with finding it. I thought some of the re-tellings of Fawcett's early travels were fascinating. And yet, I found throughout the novel we were led to believe that the author David Grann was going to offer up new insights into the lost explorer.
And sadly nothing really ever comes of it. David Grann mounts his own expedition into the Amazon, which from his own accounts sounds like a fool's errand. He among thousands of others have gone to the Amazon hoping to find out what happened to Fawcett and came out completely empty handed. Throughout the book Grann weaves his own expedition with that of Fawcett and I just never found anything that he dug up all that compelling.
It's rare for me to say this but this might be a rare novel that I might prefer the movie over the book. There was just nothing compelling after the first ten to twenty pages. Had this novel been much longer I'm not sure I would have even finished it.
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