Medieval in LA: A Fiction

Jim Paul, Author Counterpoint LLC $21 (240p) ISBN 978-1-887178-15-0
Even in the sprawling modern megalopolis of contemporary Los Angeles (or perhaps especially there), people somehow manage to live their daily lives in stubborn denial of the most profound, transforming revolutions in human thought since the Middle Ages. So proposes the thoughtful narrator of this entertaining and whimsical meditation that convincingly juxtaposes the events of a weekend visit to L.A. with key developments in Western thought. People are still, at heart, ""pre-Copernican,"" living ""mostly in the old realm, at the center of our own universe, finding our significance, manifesting our intentions."" Jim, a medievalist by profession, spills tomato juice in his lap on his flight to L.A. from San Francisco. The mishap sends him spinning into contemplation of a dazzlingly varied assortment of personalities and phenomena. From Thomas Aquinas to Bob Fosse, Galileo to John Cage, Moses and Aaron to Jessica Lange, Brecht to King Kong, Jim takes the reader on a lively philosophical ramble as he and his significant other, Les, rejoin old friends for a fresh look at L.A. Nonfiction writer Paul, a medievalist himself (Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon; What's Called Love: A Real Romance) strikes a winning balance of humor and erudition in his first novel. He effectively packages sophisticated insights in a breezy, seemingly casual narrative that could not be less pedantic. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
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