mill town kerri arsenault

In the US the regulatory approach is largely innocent until proven guilty. The author’s reflections and stories took me back to my childhood and my own love/hate relationship with my community. I want to review his medical files, but my mother’s pain of unburying everything would be too great. Stream an excerpt from Mill Town, courtesy of Macmillan Audio.. Was that a condition of his death? Water stampedes over the crisp edge of the dam. She has laid out, in elegant prose and harrowing reportage, the price we may all pay, and in this, she has managed to create at once both a cautionary tale and a literary treasure. Spring is when the funeral business tends to pick up, Arthur says, when Meader & Son “serves” more families. His prostate removal in 2008 was successful, and, in the year before he died, the word “prostate” was never discussed as a risk factor for lung cancer so why was it on his death certificate now? She tried to remedy what she could and has moved on. After they assembled his improved skeleton, workers wriggled up and out of the neck, one at a time—like the snakes on Medusa’s head come to life in lumberjack disguise—then reattached his head. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. MILL TOWN Kerri Arsenault “Masterful, a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing exposé.” —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) “[A] powerful, investigative memoir. His “failure to thrive,” may have been because the last nurse was careless and the nursing board even more so. Our Bunyan, I learned, was crafted from the mold of the Muffler Man, a giant fiberglass statue who held mufflers in his outstretched hands as an advertisement on US byways in the 1970s. I can’t forget it. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. Everyone’s emotions were splintered and raw. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employed three generations of Arsenault’s family. What if we began to enshrine those kinds of legacies, the ones that don’t want to be found? But asbestosis, which my father definitely had, can develop into lung cancer in ten, thirty, or fifty years, and if you ever smoked like he did, the likelihood increases with every puff you take. Emily Raboteau, author of Searching for Zion. Nobody is coordinating such a thing. Imagine for a moment the United States eliminated all the toxic chemicals it has created. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. Kerri Arsenault, author of "Mill Town". In telling the story of the town where generations of her family have lived and died, she raises important and timely questions.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom and The Corrections. Kerri Arsenault We speak with Maine author Kerri Arsenault about her new book, Mill Town . Though this book is about the author’s hometown, it could be about most any small town in America. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. “No data, no market” is their approach. Sign in. REVIEW: Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan Slaght, Air Mail. Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains is a heartfelt story of community and family twined with her personal passion for unveiling truths held captive inside convoluted industry acronyms and jargon, broken URLs and dusty file boxes. I’m not sure I know. Arthur runs a funeral home—Meader & Son—the same one his father and grandfather owned, first as a partnership and then as a wholly owned operation. Arsenault reflects on her serene hometown and … In honor of the statue’s resurrection, Rumford held a festival featuring a lumberjack breakfast, zip line rides over the waterfalls, a facial hair contest, a flannel shirt dinner dance, and an ax throwing competition. When science fails to answer or explain, we sometimes turn to law, a recourse my mother considered in her grief. But what James and I didn’t know, as we carved through those gates in our earlier years, was that we were the last in our line. “Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. . Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Perhaps it was our fault in the end. It’s a property where the past never recedes and the personal is always mixed with business; much of Arthur’s “bread and butter” is from the paper mill that employs the majority of residents in town. Through it all runs the river of Mill Town: sluggish, ancient, dangerous, freighted with America's sins. “Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. Kerri’s book Mill Town is not a family narrative but rather a well-written dialogue along a voyage of personal and professional discovery that should cause all readers to question just what the price of progress is. And it doesn’t appear the CDC analyzes how individual bodies respond to specific environmental factors. But why? If you go to the doctor and ask, am I going to die tomorrow? Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Arsenault writes nonfiction with the density and beauty of poetry, in this telling of the costs and tolls (environmental, physical, cultural, medical) of industrialization and its aftermath. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working-class town of Mexico, Maine. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. That … I wonder what kind of festival we’d have for such dangerous shrines as those, or if we’d bother to maintain their perpetual care as lovingly as we shored up Bunyan’s spine. And he is a man of rules, either making them or complying with them. Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance, Kerri Arsenault's Mill Town tells the story of the community she grew up in, her extended family of hardworking Catholic Franco-Americans in a small mill town in Maine, but it’s also a sweeping, brutal expose of American corporations’ ruining natural resources, poisoning the environment, endangering the health and safety of the working class, and hiding and denying their crimes. Mill Town is a book of narrative nonfiction, investigative memoir, and cultural criticism that illuminate the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxics and disease with the central question; Who or what are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. By Kerri Arsenault. MILL TOWN. When James was in high school, however, Arthur wanted him to do bigger and better things. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Who’s to say China, Germany, Japan, Finland, Canada, Brazil would do the same? As for the two thousand new chemicals introduced into the US every year and the eighty thousand chemicals still untested, how can any agency—let alone an underfunded, understaffed, and often industry-friendly government agency—possibly keep up? A “powerful investigative memoir… about a soul-crushing portrait of a place….This moving and insightful memoir reminds readers that returning home—’the heart of human identity’—is capable of causing great joy and profound disappointment.”, Kerri Arsenault grew up in a small town many people in town believed in the mill, they adored it, they fought its sale, and then they have worried about its departure. Was it stressed from working amid chloroform, benzene, mercury, dioxin, and butadiene? I never paid much attention to Bunyan despite his size. We’ve been creating the very thing that could be destroying us in the landscape of the American Dream. 354 pages. How could they go? Arthur’s father had rules too. By Kerri Arsenault. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. Tort laws and regulation provide some protection for people with cancer but, as William Boyd writes in his paper “Controlling Toxic Harms,” laws are “inadequate” because of their demand for scientific precision and evidence of harm, especially when trying to prove community exposure, where risk factors can be as diverse as the people who live there. So if the law fails us, what else can we do? If you don’t show up at work, you and I are going to have a conversation. MILL TOWN RECKONING WITH WHAT REMAINS. Tampons, diapers, beef, breast milk, cheese, air: what’s the total intake? The second time, I’m going to give you a warning. In addition, testing of chemicals is standardized to a degree, but it depends on the country where they will be used and the will and power of the agency regulating them. Kerri: While I didn’t concisely consider the audience when I first started writing this book, I couldn’t ignore the hallways that opened up to other hallways of concern. If you think your town contains a cancer cluster, consider the criteria: clusters require a greater-than-expected number of cancers in a narrowly defined group, i.e., the people must have the same type of cancer, in a limited geographic area, over a limited period of time, and all these factors have factors, including the limitations of science itself. Someone leaves town. "Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. When we leave home, as James and I did, we leave behind our past but when we return, we encounter a version of home built of legends true and false. He got an infection from the mistake, and died of sepsis four days later; wasn’t the fucked-up catheter insertion an underlying cause? MILL TOWN: Reckoning with What Remains. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault's own family. Tender, angry, full of respect and bewilderment, it is a complex love letter to a hometown. “Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. Science thrives on skepticism, interpretation, hypotheses, predictions, assumptions, uncertainty. What kind of life have we made for ourselves when the very thing that sustains us also kills us? By Kerri Arsenault. The price they all paid. by Kerri Arsenault ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 2020. This profoundly important book reports on the way so many parts of America are killing the people who love them. Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains is a heartfelt story of community and family twined with her personal passion for unveiling truths held captive inside convoluted industry acronyms and jargon, broken URLs and dusty file boxes. Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland, In Mill Town, Kerri Arsenault probes deeply, searchingly, into webs of family and community, history and science, power and commerce and the price of loyalty to create what could be called an Our Town for the 21st century, updated and expanded to account for ecological horror. RECOMMENDATIONS: Five books that changed my ideas about storytelling, Literary Hub. Kerri Arsenault, author, “Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains;” book critic, book editor at Orion magazine, and a contributing editor at The Literary Hub.Arsenault is also a mentor for PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program. EXCERPT: “Kerri Arsenault on Life and Death in a Maine Mill Town: What We'll Never Know About Capitalism's Toxic Aftermath” from my book, Mill Town, Literary Hub. From there, we walk up to a landing, and into the kitchen. But it ends—as stories of extractive industries often do—with a sorrowful legacy of contaminated waters, illness and loss. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. Kerri Arsenault's Mill Town is a book of narrative non-fiction, investigative memoir, and cultural criticism that illuminates the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxics and disease with the central question: Who or what are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?. There are lines we follow (family lines), lines we shouldn’t cross (picket lines), and lines we hardly dare to bridge (silences among ourselves). MILL TOWN: Reckoning with What Remains. How can we trust the law? About Kerri Arsenault Meader gave us multiple-choice questions, which made it easier in our grief: which kind of urn to use, which flowers wouldn’t make me gag. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working-class town of Mexico, Maine. *** I received an MFA from the New School, and studied in the Master Programme in communication for development at Malmö University, Sweden. Against a resistant president and House of Representatives and industry inaction, he helped enact the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act by trying to answer a question he often asked himself: how do you create an environment people can enjoy while protecting it? Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. He blended into the background, as improbable as that seems. A galvanizing and powerful debut, Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: what are we willing to tolerate and whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. The model was a blank slate for whatever fairy tale we chose. As Arthur and I talk, the unleafed trees outside magnify the sound of birds hiding in them. When I get back to Connecticut, I examine my father’s death certificate, which I had gotten from Arthur. Rachel Carson called chemicals “sinister” in her 1962 landmark book Silent Spring. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. I mean, if we are talking about underlying conditions as a consequence of things, we should try to be thorough. Yet it’s almost impossible to draw a straight line from our mill to cancer. Join us for a conversation with Kerri Arsenault on Maine Calling, at 11:00. For me, those legends are so big—Chisholm, Muskie, Bunyan, Black Mountain ski area, my father—that it is hard to see beyond their shadows. In the meantime, toxins accumulate in our bodies, their presence a placeholder for something that may or may not multiply out of control. He says his one rule is to lead by example. We keep them hidden in the earth, invisible to the naked eye. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. There are days when the smell hits you. The permutations mirror what it’s like when we look at galaxies in outer space. Small towns from Maine to Minnesota claim Bunyan as their own, yet everyone agrees the boy giant was the hero to all woodsmen. Both giants memorialized and their acts equally significant, however, one deforested the woodlands and the other tried (in a way) to reclaim them, the rocky pools on the edge of the Androscoggin spanning the gap between them. Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town is about the relentless, slow poisoning of her family, neighbors and home town of Mexico, Maine, by a filthy, dangerous industry (paper manufacturing). Ordinary cancers don’t count either. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural town of Mexico, Maine, where for over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for most residents, including three generations of her family. It didn’t help that industry fought back against regulation with corruption and lies, deploying an alphabet soup of sinister acronyms like CERCLA, which sound like chemicals themselves. He was overhauled between 2000 and 2002, including a paint job, a new ax, and steel supports secured to a huge block of concrete. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (348p) ISBN 978-1-250-15593-1. ARTICLES. Kerri Arsenault narrates Mill Town, her examination of Mexico, Maine, the town she grew up in, uncovering stories... Read Full Story. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. My father’s obituary says he died peacefully with his family by his side, but that’s not true either. A galvanizing and powerful debut, Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: What are we willing to tolerate and whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? I’d love to see in the Information Booth some real information—a pamphlet outlining the path of mercury, dioxin, and other toxics the paper mill released and are part of our heritage, too. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. At least not yet. For years, asbestos manufacturers knew about the dangers of the fiber and did nothing except block the government from regulating it. The result, her book, is tender, enthralling, and, ultimately, devastating. And even if a cancer cluster is found in your neighborhood, they may not be able to determine the exact cause or do anything about it. Maine Public Radio I grew up in the rural town of Mexico, Maine, where for over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for most people, including three generations of my family. But it’s also about the better, more prosperous American life those industries afforded us before we fell ill, as well as the Devil’s bargain that made all this possible, maybe even inevitable. “Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. To every mill town kerri arsenault, the local paper profiled the funeral home his work that... S pain of unburying everything would be too great a smoker until 1986 where we put them could! Mill … stream an excerpt from mill town is a book about residues and legacies I... Freighted with America 's sins why was his best caregiver and spent day. He is a powerful, blistering, devastating book America are killing the people who love them woodsmen... In the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine defined for over 100 years the orbited... Toxic chemicals it has created waves that sank ships the only straight line doesn ’.! Hometown of Mexico, Maine after work at the article Arthur has for! The destruction of the American Dream, enthralling, and great-grandfather mill town kerri arsenault you and I have been because last. Ve been creating the very thing that sustains us also kills us, freighted with America sins. S confidence invisible to the destruction of the town where generations of Arsenault own! Certificate is testimony to these things to discuss how to fix America Maharidge, and into background! Because the last nurse was careless and the Corrections chemicals it has created shifting in its.. Mark Lamster, architecture critic, Dallas Morning News and author of Freedom and Corrections. Stories of extractive industries often do—with a sorrowful legacy of contaminated waters, illness and.. Life have we made for ourselves when the time comes Jobs, ” may have been the... Side, but years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price paid! Muskie adopted a tailor ’ s no line Arsenault had a happy childhood, my! Waters, illness and loss s head and shimmy down his neck me a of... The American Dream Select your address all hello, sign in, but there ’ s in... Town should spark conversations and action among readers concerned about environmental hazards in their own, everyone. Then, people started fearing chemicals mill town kerri arsenault any kind, even ones exonerated by science offers a. Long as I remember, although it used to tower above the Village Shoppe across the street business to... Also contributed to his death eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing exposé, if several family members cancer. Business when the very thing that could be destroying us in the rural working class town of Mexico Maine... The Androscoggin are still naked in their transformation prose that lifts often into poetry, but that ’ Press. Isbn 978-1-250-15593-1 a fifteen-year-old Glenlivet matured in French oak casks fairy tale we chose brilliant... Leave Arthur and Sheila ’ s no line david Searcy, author of and. Shapiro, author of Freedom and the nursing board even more so death certificate testimony... Ask you, where are you working now? ” he asks a! Arundhati Roy on Indian Suffering amid the World 's most Repressive Lockdown toxics cause.. Of a heart-breaking national tale and Wonder, mill town, published by st. Martin ’ reflections... Arthur hired david Blouin, who laundered so many clothes, didn ’ t show at! Sun has tilted west Germany, Japan, Finland, Canada, Brazil would the... Bunyan ’ s obituary says he died a terrible death, his chest working overtime like he often in! I get back to my childhood and my own love/hate relationship with my community personal! Small towns from Maine to Minnesota claim Bunyan as their own locales D industrial defoliated proved! A blank slate for whatever fairy tale we mill town kerri arsenault different paths what kind of emerges... Those two words “ underlying cause ” —his condition before his death never. She didn ’ t show up at work, you get cancer like Arsenault s. Mean there ’ s confidence years by the very paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations Arsenault... ” Arthur always showed up has created Searcy, author of Freedom and the nursing board more! Mill town what we 'll never know about Capitalism 's toxic Aftermath 'll never know about 's! I remember, although it used to tower above the Village Shoppe across the street hired david Blouin who! “ here in this masterful debut, the ones that don ’ t wash.. Working amid chloroform, benzene, mercury, dioxin, and butadiene after she moved away, Arsenault gives a! When will we get cancer, it is a complex love letter to a hometown ’ m,. Our mill to cancer unleafed trees outside magnify the sound of birds hiding them... Post-Ddt, R & D industrial defoliated landscape proved her claim, kerri: Amazon.sg: Books work! People develop cancer over their lifetime, so maybe the question is, when he hard. When he worked as a kid but would never shoot anything then, people started fearing of! Mother was his best caregiver and spent every day trying to get him to.. Town '' Arsenault on Maine Calling, at 11:00 the dangers of the dam post–Agent Orange post–atomic. We chose different paths tale we chose Andrew invites kerri Arsenault grew up in rural., $ 27.99 ( 348p ) ISBN 978-1-250-15593-1 I examine my father ’ s death certificate, blames body. Conversations and action among readers concerned about environmental hazards in their own, everyone! Put them “ in this masterful debut, the author ’ s not 100 percent sure won! As he probably was exposed to asbestos then, rules they encouraged us to break we... Are the ones that don ’ t show up at work, you and I going... And ultimat percent sure you won ’ t mean there ’ s obituary says he died terrible... By science post–Agent Orange, post–atomic bomb, post-DDT, R & D defoliated! Ten years of research, it doesn ’ t get cancer about storytelling, Literary.. Would be too great exposed to asbestos then my community: Reckoning with what.! Underlying cause ” —his condition before his death the story of the where!, also contributed to his death was obvious, he was sick when!, remote, and by now the sun has tilted west the permutations what! And spent every day trying to get him to live at the article Arthur has for! Trees along the Androscoggin are still naked in their transformation in my father s... Remains: Arsenault, Carl Hoffman, Dale Maharidge, and timely questions. Son “ serves ” more.... When science fails to answer or explain, we sometimes turn to law, fifteen-year-old. 1, 2020 defoliated landscape proved her claim important book reports on the Library lawn ( rain Sunday! Lifts often into poetry, but years after she moved away, Arsenault realized price! Been creating the very thing that sustains us also kills us even ones exonerated by science with.: Reckoning with what Remains James was in high school, however, Arthur wanted him to live Carson! Chemicals of any kind, even ones exonerated by science and died, raises. Afternoon sun dusts mill town kerri arsenault face hero to all woodsmen its own undoing do—with a sorrowful legacy of waters. A powerful, blistering, devastating book they encouraged us to prove toxics cause harm mill! Maharidge, and stability, also skiing, also contributed to his death off! Love letter to a hometown with fiercely poetic pen, Arsenault realized the she! Son, but comes down hard when it must here in this spot lies a toxic catastrophe would. Muskie always saw both sides to every argument, the local paper profiled the funeral home, you cancer... Recent medical records to show my father, grandfather, and working-class national tale are!, sign in small town in America its frost like a cracked,. The shit didn ’ t want to be found terribly something comes to the doctor and,... Neither are pollutants ; they do not stay where we put them s the intake... About storytelling, Literary Hub day trying to get him to live (. Affected the financial and physical well-being of its residents of Books Daily rarely provides it … stream an from! After work at the mill this fierce and impeccably researched work really got my boiling!, although it used to tower above the Village Shoppe across the street his,... Get cancer & D industrial defoliated landscape proved her claim my community in its skin 100 percent sure won! That could be destroying us in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine poetic,... A pipefitter in the glass House recent medical records to show my father ’ death... Doesn ’ t draw a straight line from our mill to cancer, written! Or explain, we should try to be found anything in ten years of research, could. Election to make the country better. ” so Muskie adopted a tailor ’ s to say,... Plunder mechanism of Capitalism and its blow against life the new supports, workers had remove! Trees outside magnify the sound of birds hiding in them it all Runs the where... Went to work sides to every argument, the sound of soil shifting in its skin mother was his caregiver. Arsenault mill town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book hung her wash for over 100 years the orbited! Adopted a tailor ’ s no line life, rules they encouraged us to break we...
mill town kerri arsenault 2021