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Panorama Cityby Antoine Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
Oppen Porter, a self-described “slow absorber,” thinks hes dying. Hes not, but from his hospital bed, he unspools into a cassette recorder a tale of self-determination, from village idiot to man of the world, for the benefit of his unborn son.
Written in an astonishingly charming and wise voice, Panorama City traces forty days and nights navigating the fast food joints, storefront churches, and home-office psychologists of the San Fernando Valley. Ping-ponging between his watchful and sharp-tongued aunt and an outlaw philosopher with the face "of a newly hatched crocodile," Oppen finds himself constantly in the sights of people who believe that their way is the only way for him.
Open-hearted, bicycle-riding, binocular-toting Oppen Porter is "an American original" (Stewart O'Nan) for whom finding one's own way is both a delightful art and a painstaking science. Disarmingly funny and surreptitiously moving, Panorama City makes us see the world, and our place in it, with new eyes.
"Wilson's second novel (after Interloper) is fresh and flawlessly crafted as well as charmingly genuine. Oppen Porter is almost 30, a guileless man who lives in a small central California town with his reclusive father in a house overtaken by nature. Untouched by cynicism, Oppen's interpretation of the world around him evokes both the sublime and the ridiculous. His daily routine consists of riding into town on his bicycle to find odd jobs, feeling sublime happiness at 'the softest burring sound' his tires make on the asphalt, and playing a long-running game of chicken with Hector and Mike Alvarez. But the death of Oppen's father changes Oppen's life, sending him to live with his Aunt Liz in Panorama City, in the San Fernando Valley, where he pursues two goals: to become a man of the world (he wants this) and to never again be the village idiot (his Aunt Liz wants this). On his way to his new life, Oppen meets a wise man who threatens to derail Aunt Liz's plans and bring Oppen's lofty goal into question. Oppen experiments with various roles — dedicated worker, student of religion, thinker — eventually finding his place in the world, framing a classic coming-of-age story in an unexpected way. Agent: TK. (Sept. 25)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Heir to A Confederacy of Dunces and Being There, Panorama City is a wildly entertaining and surreptitiously moving novel about a self-described "slow absorber" named Oppen Porter, who records everything he thinks his unborn son will find useful in becoming a man of the world.
Oppen Porter thinks hes dying. (Hes not.)
From his hospital bed, with tape recorder in hand, he unspools his tale for the benefit of his unborn son, the tale of his forty-day journey from innocence to experience, from self-described “slow absorber” to man of the world.
This is his “astonishing,”* “laugh-aloud funny,”** “crisp,”*** “delightful,”**** “indelible”***** story.
*Los Angeles Review of Books
**Cleveland Plain Dealer
***San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Antoine Wilson is the author of the novel The Interloper and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is a contributing editor of A Public Space and lives and surfs in Los Ange
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