‘Lost in Summerland’ Wants to Walk You Through the Confusion of Life in America

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By Albert Samaha

By Barrett Swanson

When we first meet Barrett Swanson in the opening essay of his new book, he is trapped in a malaise — “feeling rudderless and unmoored.” He long believed that “the point of life was to chase down a succession of exotic experiences” and that “no true consequences stemmed from my ideological decisions,” but he has since awakened to the realization that his nihilist indulgence marks a broken worldview that he is unsure how to fix.

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