Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Anthologies about the Los Angeles novel 1984-2003


Previous anthologies about the Los Angeles novel: all are interesting but out-of-date as the these anthologies were published from 1984 through 2003. A lot more good Los Angeles novels have been published from 2003-2021.

Fine, David, editor. Los Angeles in Fiction:  A Collection of Original Essays 1984-  L.A. literature as 1930s noirs.  Traces Boosters to Bust of 1930s to Hollywood novels, crime and detective, and then immigrant, ethnic, and apocalyptic fiction. Fine calls LA fiction begins with Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona (1884) and Mary Austin’s The Ford (1917)  and then 1920s novels—the “gentle satires” of Harry Lee Merton’s Merton of the Movies (1923) and Mark Lee Luther’s The Boosters (1923) and later in the decade Ryan’s Angels Flight and Sinclair’s Oil. Then he talks of detective/crime writers “focus on crimes committed and buried in past time” which detective discovers. Also Hollywood novels like Aldous Huxley After Many a Summer Dies a Swan (1939).

Fine, David. Imagining Los Angeles:  A City in Fiction. 2000. “First Literary History of LA in 50 years.” 80% After Ch. 1 intro,  ch 2 on boosters, ch. 3 on 1920s fiction on movies and oil; ch. 4 on hard-boiled 1930s; ch. 5 on Detectives; ch. 6 on Hollywood novels; ch. 7 on poor—Fante and Bukowski; black writers Arna Bontemps, Chester Himes, Walter Mosley; Chicanos Oscar Acosta, Ron Arias, Thomas Sanchez’s Zoot Suit; ch. 8 Black Dahlia post-war misogyny against women’s independence and zoot suits by Luis Valdez and h. 9 Surviving Apocalypse with Braverman’s Palm Latitudes; John Rechy’s The Miraculous Day of Amalia Cortez;  and T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain; and surviving apocalypse in Kadohata and Carolyn See’s Golden Days and Making History

Murphet, Julian.  Literature and Race in Los Angeles. 2001.- detective fiction (post-Chandler of James Elroy’s LA Quartet novels and Walter Mosley’s Easy Rollins series of novels), multi-cultural poets (Coleman, Luis Rodriguez, and Sesshu Foster), adolescent noir fiction (Bret Easton Ellis and Dennis Cooper—two wealthy young white males), and  Anna Deveare Smith, a black woman from NY’s take on 1992 L.A. uprising

Timberg, Scott and Gioia, David, editor. The Misread City New Literary Los Angeles   2003. Focuses Skenazy’s essay on detective novels (Cain, Chandler, Ross McDonald, and post-1970s James Ellroy, Joseph Hansen’s gay detective novels, Michael Nava’s gay Chicano investigator, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley) and fictional apocalypse (David Fine says common theme of LA fiction from 1920s-present is “betrayal of hope and collapse of dreams” p. 66). Fine says women’s novels of LA show even in disaster reason for hope (Isherwood’s A Single Man, Braverman’s Palm Latitudes, Cynthia Kadohata’s In the Heart of the Valley of Love, Carolyn See’s Golden Days and Making History). I’d add Alison Lurie’s The Nowhere City




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