The best book about Los Angeles has been written by somebody who was born in Cleveland and lives in New York. His name is James Frey and the title of his work is “BRIGHT SHINY MORNING“.
It is an utterly original story, at the same time a novel following multiple tracks and characters, a sociological and urban essay, almost a tourist guide and more than anything else an inexhaustible source of knowledge on the “city of angels”. Los Angeles, the great factory of dreams and nightmares is depicted with strong and direct lights, vibrant colors and the crudeness of a picture of Hyeronimus Bosch. The characters come across the thousand contradictory and conflicting worlds fitting into this city, from the film industry and the star system to the life of Mexican immigrants, gangs and guns, cars, freeways, palm-lined beaches and gridlock, the art business and the porn movie scene. At the same time, the history of LA is tracked from its beginning in September 1781 when a group of 44 “pobladores” established the first settlement of “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula” right in the center of contemporary LA until the 2000s when this city has become the most diverse and fastest growing metropolitan area in the US and – if it was a country -the fifteenth-largest economy in the world.
It is a great book, it is a hard book just as LA is a hard place to be. And a fucking great one as long as “the sun rises in a clear sky that moves from black to grey to white to deep, pure crystal blue”