cover image Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles

Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles

Rosecrans Baldwin. MCD, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-15042-6

Novelist and essayist Baldwin (Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down) delivers a witty and imaginative survey of contemporary L.A. With a population of more than 10 million, greater L.A. “is less a metropolis than an eighty-eight-city nation state,” according to Baldwin, who explores the region’s “relationship to its citizens” by attending a Mastery in Transformational Training Workshop, where “the biggest epiphanies were still one course away”; accompanying aid workers as they scout migrant trails near the Mexican border; and spending time in the 50-block area of downtown L.A. known as “Skid Row.” He also interviews city residents, including a labor trafficking victim who was rescued by the FBI and Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Marleen Martinez Sundgaard, whose migrant farmer parents “made her go out into the fields at a young age... to know her family’s sacrifices.” Throughout, Baldwin shares eye-opening statistics (80% of children enrolled in the L.A. Unified School District live below the poverty line) and weaves in colorful historical snippets and reflections on the city from writers including Héctor Tobar, Joan Didion, and Octavia Butler. This multifaceted, openhearted account reveals L.A. as a “shifting mosaic of human potential” unlike any other place in the world. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (June)