|Medieval in LA (1996) [Novel]|
by Jim Paul
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(From the publisher):
From the publisher
Life begins in chaos, each of us falling out of random chance, then getting the feeling that certainly we had to happen." So thinks the modern-day narrator of Medieval in LA, who accidentally inundates his white pants (and his copy of The Passion of the Western Mind) with tomato juice on a flight to Los Angeles. And thus begins an LA weekend, a series of ordinary events that puts us in the company of the extraordinary and the hilarious. Jim Paul's playful fiction takes the concept of travelogue where it's never been before, pulling off a surprising synthesis that merges the trip to LA, that most post- of modern cities, with a capsule history of Western thought. The more mundane the moment, the more illuminating. At a cafe on Beverly Boulevard on Yom Kippur a man wears cross-country skiing shoes, and from this sight our erudite guide leads us into a meditation on Leviticus ("nor go forth shod"), on the mercurial nature of fads and fashion, on the sacred and the profane. Shopping for a wristwatch occasions a study of Newton's concept of absolute time. We visit George Berkeley's theories about the existence of matter and the random legacies of John Cage. Each moment is cross-referenced from the bizarre present to the barely submerged past. Surfing the timeline, Jim Paul takes us to the edge of the West, to a city that lives by the notion that the self is infinitely malleable and forever new, where irony is defined by its absence but where even billboards shine with beliefs and icons verging on the pre-Copernican. Here his narrator discovers a paradox that isn't merely Californian: "We're still as slow and innocent as we were back then, just faster and more experienced."
Original title: Medieval in LA
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction