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Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles: An Accidental Memoirby Kate Braverman
Synopses & Reviews
Kate Braverman grew up in Los Angeles in the late 1950s at the time when glitz was just beginning to be manufactured. Her Los Angeles was made up of stucco tenements, welfare, and the marginalized. It wasn't a destination city, it was the end of the line.
Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles chronicles the trajectory of Braverman's Left Coast generation with a voice of singular power. She was an antiwar activist in Berkeley, a punk-rock poet on Sunset Strip, a single mother in the East L.A. barrio, and a woman in recovery at AA meetings in Beverly Hills. By 1990 she was married and settled into a life of writing and teaching. In her forties, Braverman did the unthinkable and moved from Beverly Hills to New York's Allegheny Mountains to a 150-year-old farmhouse.
In wide-ranging transmissions, Braverman deftly contrasts the social histories of Los Angeles with her new, timeless rural community; describes the effects of the changing seasons on her Californian, sun-drenched soul; and marvels at how a remote farmhouse can offer surprising consolations.
Library Journal calls Braverman a "literary genius"; Rolling Stone describes her as having the "power and intensity you don't see much outside of rock and roll." Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles offers an eccentric and insightful view of social and individual transformation.
"Experimental poet and novelist Braverman (The Incantation of Frida K.) proffers a brash, witty memoir comprising a dozen bubbling, occasionally repetitive essays chronicling her 1990s move from L.A. to an upstate New York farmhouse. After the last spate of riots and a major earthquake, the 40-something Braverman decides to quit the city of her birth and head to the Allegheny Mountains to live through brutal winters with her husband, an academic scientist, and teenage daughter. In the first and funniest essay, Braverman relates how a longtime denizen of L.A. like herself manages to leave, an ordeal in itself: 'Such a departure requires magical intervention.' Then she is prey to advice from others, such as Uncle Irving, who gives the lowdown on their Jewish family's desperate emigration from the Old World: 'They couldn't even invent a past with a single exception to impoverishment.' In six 'Transmission' essays, Braverman delineates her thorny new eastern habitat, where she enjoys four bathrooms, gardening and 'active correspondence necessitating pens and the postal service'; with snow falling for eight consecutive months, she even craves the crass fantasyland of L.A. malls. In fact, once removed from that city's crime and materialism, Braverman finds she can draw in sharp relief its 'accumulated atrocities.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Kate Braverman is the author of several works of fiction and poetry, most recently, The Incantation of Frida K. She currently lives with her husband in San Francisco.
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