Plot: The protagonist seeks purpose and happiness in this soul-searching escapade on the club circuit in Los Angeles. Contemplative, self-occupied, and meandering, every action sparks interest yet leaves a questionable sense of reason as the story progresses with insufficient motivation.
Prose/Style: An admirable command of language brings each scene to vibrant life, rendering every mundane passage riveting and ordinary situations fascinating. Polished and sophisticated, meticulous prose enhances the emotional impact of this intellectual mainstream novel.
Originality: Club Los Angeles takes on a stereotypical personality that wraps itself around every character in this familiar portrayal of striving and struggling poets, musicians, and comedians. Though an absorbing book, the glorified culture of this dominant metropolis overwhelms the story, even in description, a phenomenon seen whenever California’s City of Angels plays a significant role in determining the outcome.
Character Development: The depiction of David Bishop and his supporting characters takes realism to a human level of expertise—believable and genuine. Created to elicit compassion and empathy, these pillars of a weak storyline make the reading experience worthwhile.
Date Submitted: July 08, 2019
"…'He learned… how a new life can be constructed on the foundation of what had been destroyed.'"
David is at a crossroads when he finds himself bobbing in the Pacific Ocean off a Malibu beach. There, with dolphins swimming just out of reach, possibilities loom. A peaceful drowning death lies temptingly beneath the surface, while back on shore, the potential for fulfilling life beckons. David stays afloat, and this metaphor befits his journey of reinvention from divorce in Dallas to a new life in Los Angeles. It’s 1987—an era before Facebook, YouTube, and Uber drivers of the so-called gig economy. David and a small circle of new friends ease their way through the dark margins of Hollywood. They heal wounds, bide time, stretch pennies, and seek the inner artist in each struggling soul.
This quiet, introspective book effectively explores the path of a fresh start. How does a 35-year-old man unburden himself so he is light enough to relocate as though newly birthed? How does a man so unencumbered then undertake the process of building a life—from safe home and furnishings, to friends and lovers, to fulfilling work and economic viability? What lives touch him along the way, and how does he likewise affect the paths of others in similar transitory phases of their lives?
Set in a bygone Los Angeles so crisply detailed that its hip haunts and scenic paths often steal the show, this book showcases people and a time easily forgotten by the broader strokes of conventional life. The book is at its best inside David’s head, where he remains measured and calm while balancing a taut and restless masculinity. The women he meets, including two with whom he becomes intimate, lie on the page less as real people than as stereotypical devices in David’s own journey. In all, however, the book follows a relatable and believable arc of renewal, timing, and love.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review