on 12 March 1999
Yamashita's book is just short of a tour de force. It's engrossing, jauntily satirical and multicultural to a fault. I agree with the other reviews that find it a direct indictment of materialism as well, but I was more intrigued by her apocalyptic vision for LA. The city of angels has always been a focal point for artists, and many think its time of burnout will come. Yamashita thinks that the destructive impulse will come from within and from nearby borders, and that makes this book even more fascinating as a possible scenario for the end of LA as we know it. Why hasn't this become a movie, or even a movie of the week? The fever pitch she manages to end chapters with at times would directly translate to the large or small screen. Maybe the Hollywood vultures haven't found her yet. It's only a matter of time.
on 6 February 1998
Yamashita's book is an interesting study of the effects of technology on human interaction and emotion. She uses recent history to form her opinion: NAFTA is portrayed in a bad light as destroying tradition and spreading American materialism, and the Rodney King case makes the freeway assault seem not so much like fiction. The book is an easy read with a lot of thought-provoking symbolism, and it is also very pessimistic about 90's American culture. If it is seen purely as a worst-case scenario of the future of America, it is very effective. John Alexander Stiner