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Synopses & Reviews
The Los Angeles Dana Spiotta evokes in her bold and strangely lyrical first novel is a land of Spirit Gyms and Miracle Miles, a great centerless place where chains of reference get lost, or finally don't matter.
Mina lives with her screenwriter husband and works at her best friend Lorene's highly successful concept restaurants, which exploit the often unconscious desires and idiosyncrasies of a rich, chic clientele. Almost inadvertently, Mina has acquired two lovers. And then there are the other men in her life: her father, a washed-up Hollywood director living in a yurt and hiding from his debtors, and her disturbed brother, Michael, whose attempts to connect with her force Mina to consider that she might still have a heart — if only she could remember where she had left it.
Between her Spiritual Exfoliation and Detoxification therapies and her elaborate devotion to style, Lorene is interested only in charting her own perfection and impending decay. Although supremely confident in a million shallow ways, she, too, starts to fray at the edges.
And there is Lisa, a loving mother who cleans houses, scrapes by, and dreams of food terrorists and child abductors, until even the most innocent events seem to hint at dark possibilities.
Lightning Field explores the language tics of our culture — the consumerist fetishes, the self-obsession and the þeeting possibility that you just might have gotten it all badly wrong. In funny, cutting, unsentimental prose, Spiotta exposes the contradictions of contemporary lives in which "identity is a collection of references." She writes about overcoming not just despair but ambivalence.
Playful and dire, raw and poetic, Lightning Field introduces a startling new voice in American fiction.
"Los Angeles is the air we all breathe in this wonderfully funny, accomplished, and far-reaching first novel about our consumer colossus and the human products it makes and shapes." Don DeLillo, author of Underworld
"I never imagined I'd say this about any novel, but Lightning Field made me want to go back to my hometown, where self-consciousness is an art form and decadence is devoid of pleasure. On the other hand, as tickets to L.A. go, Dana Spiotta's is a lot cheaper — and smarter." Kathryn Harrison, author of The Binding Chair or, A Visit from the Foot Emancipation Society
"A truly convincing L.A. novel: the scraped nerves, the free-floating dissatisfaction, the lingering scenes in chic, empty restaurants and hotel bars, the conversations with the tense inflections that don't reveal anything, the nowhere sex with wandering, absent lovers, a place where everything's a reference to a movie and the pull of wanting to be someone you're not is inescapable — and finally the half-hearted escape and the inevitable return. Dana Spiotta's focus and control and insight are remarkable; this raw, skillful book, revelatory." Bret Easton Ellis, author of Glamorama
"It's a difficult task, to write about a place that's been so written about, so studied, so filmed. What is there to say about L.A. that hasn't already been said? How to recreate it? Interestingly, and against all odds, Spiotta succeeds in making L.A. her own: It's a place where culture may be stupid, but people are not. Amen to that." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
About the Author
Dana Spiotta grew up in California, spending most of her time on the fringes of movie industry culture. Her first job, at sixteen, was as an assistant on a ?lm production. Since then, she has worked in restaurants most evenings of her adult life. She lives in New York City.
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