on 22 April 2010
As a fan of and student of the wonderful, magical, artificial city of Los Angeles, I awaited this book with some anticipation. It proved every bit worth the wait - David Ulin, the editor, is a well-known L.A. historian, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of the city, its artists and its history shines through in this huge anthology.
The articles are arranged in chronological order from the early (Anglo) writers like Helen Hunt Jackson right up to the present day. They consist of extracts from longer texts, complete articles, fiction, diary entries and factual accounts of the life and times of the city. There's hardly a duff page in the book - every entry has been chosen for the quality of writing and commentary above all, and the book features some of the very best writers the world has ever seen: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Raymond Chandler, H.L. Mencken, Evelyn Waugh, Norman Mailer, Upton Sinclair...the list goes on.
This book casts me easily back to the fair city of Los Angeles, even in the dark winter months here in England. The hardback edition that I purchased from Amazon is well printed on good quality paper - necessarily quite thin due to the length and size of the book, but very smooth and durable all the same. It's a triumph, a book I will treasure for decades to come. Exceptional!