My inquest on alternative Los Angeles novels just hit The Millions. Excerpt:
You Millions habitués presumably prepare for life’s big events the same way I do: by gorging yourselves on novels to do with those events, tenuously to do those events, and, well… beyond. Readying myself for a move to Los Angeles, I naturally turned to literature, but I decided to avoid the region’s richest, oldest, most beloved literary currents: its unflinching examinations of Old Hollywood, its hardscrabble outsider odysseys toward the kingdom of celebrity, its hard-boiled tales of murderous intrigue and complex deceit beneath the palm trees. Those novels became iconic for a reason, but I had to ask: given Los Angeles’ practically unfathomable size and diversity, what other kinds of literature does it offer?
So I asked all the readers I could for their recommendations of “alternative,” “adventurous,” “unusual,” “non-canonical,” or just “weird” Los Angeles novels, keeping the question purposefully vague enough to ensure a wide variety of responses. These five books, mentioned by readers based in the city and elsewhere as well as by readers for the city and against it, “clicked” together in my mind to form the beginnings of a new, personal, Los Angeles canon.
And now, please excuse me while I return to panhandling.