James Frey, the Million Little Pieces writer/fibber, has just released Bright Shiny Morning, a novel that many are saying is the ultimate Los Angeles book; a work that encapsulates the energy of this huge city and its numerous neighborhoods. Of course, those people aren't from LA. Here are some choice words from reviewers, both distant and local:
By Steven Moore of The Washington Post: "But in point of fact, this sprawling novel about Los Angeles, where Frey lived in the 1990s, is very accurate and can be considered a reliable guide to 'the most diverse, fastest-growing major metropolitan area in the United States,' as he writes near the end."
From Janet Maslin of The New York Times: "So the Bright Shiny Morning guy did it differently. He let the little vignette play out against a big, gaudy, dangerous Southern California backdrop, full of drug-dealing gang-bangers, full of schemers, phonies, rich with a history of robber barons, all of it listed here, all of it stacking the deck against any generosity of spirit... And it worked."
From David L. Ulin of the Los Angeles Times: "Written as an Altman-esque collage, it follows several parallel story lines that never coalesce. The idea is to trace a collective vision of the city, high and low, from Hollywood to the Valley to East L.A. -- an attempt to get at the fluidity of Los Angeles... How do we reckon with a book in which the city is flat and lifeless as a stage set, in which Frey uses broad generalizations... Yes, [the book] is Los Angeles, in the way a cheap Hollywood movie is Los Angeles: superficial, a collection of loose impressions that don't add up."
· The City of Angels, and its demons [Washington Post]
· Little Pieces of Los Angeles [NY Times]
· Bright Shiny Morning [LA Times]