Visit a place where your accent is an aphrodisiac, invites a Las Vegas tourist board ad on the London Underground. Just the right amount of wrong, offers another from The Cosmopolitan Hotel. Clearly, it works. Over forty million people a year travel to Vegas, more than to Mecca. It is a global celebrity, an improbable oasis, a place offering bank-breaking fortunes and instant gratification, 24/7, with no moral debits. Start planning the vacation you won't write home about. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Award-winning writer Timothy O'Grady lived in Vegas for two years. He finally began to understand it when he talked to people who had grown up there, the children of the card dealers and cocktail shakers, the jugglers and the dancers, young people who had been bearing witness to their strange city all their lives. One had her student loans and credit card limits stolen by her father. Another fled a sequence of exploiters until she found herself living in the storm drains under the casinos. There is the boy whose father entered him into a drinking contest when he was eight, the casino owner's son, the erudite contortionist turned stripper. Each tells their own tale.
O'Grady here renews his partnership with renowned photographer Steve Pyke. Through short essays, Pyke's portraits and ten witness testimonies, he pierces the city's glittering façade. Children of Las Vegas shows us what we can expect to find when the global marketplace has found the addiction genes in us all. It is a book of broken dreams, but also of an extraordinary striving for transcendence.