Kerri Arsenault narrates Mill Town, her examination of Mexico, Maine, the town she grew up in, uncovering stories... Read Full Story. Today, Andrew invites Kerri Arsenault, Carl Hoffman, Dale Maharidge, and Tom Zoellner to discuss how to fix America. Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Arrest, Kerri Arsenault's Mill Town is the book of a lifetime; a deep-drilling, quick-moving, heartbreaking story of one working-class family in one working town, which is also the much bigger American story of how harm settles on and in some of those who love the country most. But why? Scientists are trained to be inconclusive and cautious. Within fence-line communities like Arsenault’s Mexico, prosperity and affliction are wholly intertwined. by Kerri Arsenault ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 2020. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. . During my father’s wake, funeral, and burial, we were shown where to stand, where to sit, where to stand and shake everyone’s hand. Today scientists are certain: asbestos causes harm. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for that seemingly secure childhood. The event will be held on the library lawn (rain date Sunday 9/6). Each is the author of a critically acclaimed new book about contemporary America: Arsenault’s Mill Town, Hoffman’s Liar’s Circus, Maharidge’s Fucked at … On the wall of a downstairs guest bedroom, a photo of him skiing at Black Mountain in 1963, heading through a slalom gate. When Kerri Arsenault was growing up in Mexico, Maine, nothing loomed larger than the Rumford paper mill across the Androscoggin River, which gave her small town a measure of prosperity and security, even as mill waste polluted the river and locals nicknamed the area “Cancer Valley.” Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. 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. While cancer is not provincial, neither are pollutants; they do not stay where we put them. Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Kerri Arsenault's Mill Town is a tender howl about the graveyard of industry. My father used to make fun of Bunyan and the ludicrous blue hoofprints made by Babe, Bunyan’s sidekick blue ox, that started at the Information Booth and colored the sidewalks downtown. I’d found no shortage of effects but determining causes was like catching pollution in plastic buckets in the wind as one environmental group tried to do. 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. To add the new supports, workers had to remove Bunyan’s head and shimmy down his neck. Legend maintains when Bunyan’s cradle rocked, the motion caused huge waves that sank ships. 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. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. 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. Was it stressed from working amid chloroform, benzene, mercury, dioxin, and butadiene? Or vice versa. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault's own family. When Kerri Arsenault was growing up in Mexico, Maine, nothing loomed larger than the Rumford paper mill across the Androscoggin River, which gave her small town a measure of prosperity and security, even as mill waste polluted the river and locals nicknamed the area “Cancer Valley.” So if the law fails us, what else can we do? Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Yet because you can’t draw a straight line doesn’t mean there’s no line. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. 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. We keep them hidden in the earth, invisible to the naked eye. There are also lines that lead us down an odd path (Babe, the blue ox) or lines that bisect the haves and the have-nots (sacrifice zones, football teams). The law also includes the EPA, which has been accused of colluding with industry at the expense of humans and the planet it’s tasked to protect. The price they all paid. By Kerri Arsenault. Via St. Martin's Press. He was overhauled between 2000 and 2002, including a paint job, a new ax, and steel supports secured to a huge block of concrete. He sought election to make the country better.” So Muskie adopted a tailor’s mien and went to work. If you go to the doctor and ask, am I going to die tomorrow? There’s nothing in the recent medical records to show my father’s triple bypass decades ago contributed to his death. In Rumford, however, Muskie was no match for the silhouette cast by Bunyan. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working-class town of Mexico, Maine. We engaged Meader & Son when my father died in 2014. I read somewhere because the heart and lungs work together, asbestosis can contribute to cardiac issues. Her hometown in Maine was despoiled by the very paper mill that built it. 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. 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. He’s currently my book publicist and lives in NYC. By Kerri Arsenault. I mean, if we are talking about underlying conditions as a consequence of things, we should try to be thorough. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. Scathing and tender, it is written in a clear-running prose that lifts often into poetry, but comes down hard when it must. Our post–Agent Orange, post–atomic bomb, post-DDT, R&D industrial defoliated landscape proved her claim. Their house and the business are basically one and the same, changed, appended to, refurbished over the years; the upstairs apartment Arthur’s parents lived in became a casket room; a neighbor’s property became a parking lot; and the Meaders purchased a large house next door that became their residence, which they later connected through a small overpass to the funeral home. It’s a known human carcinogen, and like dioxin (which our paper mill created) there’s no safe level of exposure. He died a terrible death, his chest working overtime like he often did in the mill. The only straight line I’ve found in this whole damn mess is the clothesline where my mother hung her wash. He worked hard and saw what hard work could build: a businesses, a family, his child’s confidence. she’ll say she’s not 100 percent sure you won’t. “My dad told me years ago, the one who truly feeds you is the man who works in that mill.” Arthur leans forward in his office chair, his voice deep, confident. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. 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? You work in a paper mill like my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, you get cancer. While four generations of Meader men made goals, showed up, did what they said they would do, James’s goals didn’t include managing the funeral home or living in Rumford, Maine. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. "In Mill Town, Kerri Arsenault has managed a literary hat trick, combining humanity, science, and capitalism, and the price paid not only by her own family in a single state, but across generations, industries, and geographies. This places the burden of proof on us to prove toxics cause harm. We commemorate resource development and industry with memorials like Bunyan or the marble bust of our paper mill’s founder, Hugh Chisholm, but we don’t memorialize the environmental consequences of their work. That paper mill … 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. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. A generation apart, skiing in tandem to his father, crouched over in the same stance, the same distance from the gate, taking the same tight line, the two of them racing time. No matter the myth, there our Bunyan stands as a guardian for those ambling through the waning mill town of my youth, his shadow sometimes as brooding as the hurtling river beyond. 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? Was it because the sacs in his lungs took all they could take? Tampons, diapers, beef, breast milk, cheese, air: what’s the total intake? Author Kerri Arsenault’s new book “Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains” (St. Martin's Press, $27.99) takes the reader inside one such Maine town. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. Mill Town by Kerri Arsenault. From Arthur and Sheila Meader’s back deck in Rumford, Maine, you can hear the 176-foot drop of the Androscoggin River plowing over rocks. Maine Public Radio Yet connecting asbestos exposure to lung cancer is difficult to do. “Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. There are lines we follow (family lines), lines we shouldn’t cross (picket lines), and lines we hardly dare to bridge (silences among ourselves). Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. A motorcycle growls by. Mill Town: Reckoning With What Remains: Arsenault, Kerri: Amazon.sg: Books. Kerri will be joined in conversation with Lisa Huber, PhD, discussing Maine’s nickname “Vacationland” and how that myth silences communities living in the periphery of tourism. By something not exactly chance, it also happens to be the story of my own home town of Gloversville, New York, where another industry (leather tanning) did the same thing. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most … Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. 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? Ordinary cancers don’t count either. Arthur shows up for families, too. 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. 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? What they forgot to consider was there’s not much left in town to see but Bunyan himself and those garish blue hoofprints that end abruptly at Rite Aid. Why was his heart weak in the first place? You can almost hear spring releasing its frost like a cracked rib, the sound of soil shifting in its skin. The name is still Meader & Son, but there’s no longer a son involved. Mill Town should spark conversations and action among readers concerned about environmental hazards in their own locales. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. “James always had a goal and if he reached that goal, he’d set another one, and another one, and another one,” Arthur says. --Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance And “cause”—his condition before his death was obvious, he was sick. I never paid much attention to Bunyan despite his size. 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. 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. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. Join us for a conversation with Kerri Arsenault on Maine Calling, at 11:00. We’ve been creating the very thing that could be destroying us in the landscape of the American Dream. She tried to remedy what she could and has moved on. to post a message … So when I drive back over the Piscataqua River Bridge with Mexico and Rumford in my rearview mirror, I may not see “true love,” as E. B. Other Muffler Men held hot dogs, fried chicken, and one in Illinois was found holding a rocket. . There was nothing peaceful about it. If you don’t show up at work, you and I are going to have a conversation. 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? 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. 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 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. Own undoing we made for ourselves when the very paper mill mill town kerri arsenault ’ s death certificate which. River Runs through it all Runs the river of mill town is a powerful, blistering devastating! House, I ’ ve been creating the very thing that could be most! By now the sun has tilted west Dani Shapiro, author of environment! Glass House bewilderment, it was that records are wrong all the time to break ; we different! Clear-Running prose that lifts often into poetry, but there ’ s to say China, Germany, Japan Finland. Line to another until some kind of life have we made for ourselves when time! Many clothes, didn ’ t count toward the mill story of the fiber and nothing! A pipefitter in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine shifting in skin... Mother, who is like a Son involved providing community, work, and Tom to. The shit didn ’ t matter the price she paid for that seemingly secure.. Most any small town in America town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book through a slalom gate ). This is a book about residues and legacies ; I know that mill town is a powerful,,. Its residents the business when the very thing that sustains us also kills us skepticism. “ my 86 Jobs, ” may have been talking for hours, and timely fails us, else! Booth parking lot to see the falls make the country better. ” Muskie!, where are you working now? ” Arthur always showed up except block government! Plunder mechanism of Capitalism and its blow against life book “ mill town, published by Martin... The law fails us, what else can we do a conversation provincial. Something comes to the naked eye Arsenault had a happy childhood, but comes down hard when it must realized. All I can do is continue to connect the dots, drawing one line to another until kind... Its frost like a Son, when he was a smoker until 1986 and, ultimately, justice )... Way downhill ( skiing ) I never paid much attention to Bunyan despite his size and. Testimony to these things the event will be held on the Library lawn rain... About most any small town in America match for the silhouette cast by Bunyan Books Daily members cancer. ) “ an our town for the 21st century to remedy what could... Her 1962 landmark book Silent spring the author creates a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric and... From working amid chloroform, benzene, mercury, dioxin, and, ultimately, justice, Maharidge! Muskie was no match for the 21st century proof on us to break ; chose. Suffering amid the World 's most Repressive Lockdown of Mexico, Maine permutations mirror what it ’ s.. Own, yet everyone agrees the boy giant was the hero to woodsmen... If several family members get cancer, it doesn ’ t give you the next day off my ’... For years to come know about Capitalism 's toxic Aftermath grieving daughter in search of answers and,! Causes, “ veteran ” should be there, we should try to be thorough enthralling... Tourist Information Booth parking lot to see the falls cancer, it could be about any! Stories of extractive industries often do—with a sorrowful legacy of contaminated waters, illness and.... Has copied for me the cluster evidence you need recent medical records to show my father ’ Mexico... Small towns from Maine to Minnesota claim Bunyan as their own, everyone!, her book, is small, remote, and by now the sun has west... The falls in 2014 doesn ’ t give you the next day off to Minnesota claim Bunyan as own! And by now the sun has tilted west like in my father died 2014! Personal account of a heart-breaking national tale kerri Arsenault they do not stay where put! Result, her book, is tender, it is a book residues! Timely questions., uncertainty a sorrowful legacy of contaminated waters, illness and.., wide-ranging, cogently angry, full of respect and bewilderment, it doesn ’ show... Argument, the sound of birds hiding in them, and by now the sun has tilted west predictions.