The House of Amabiano – Los Angeles Review of Books

OCTOBER 17, 2022 ABOUT A DECADE AGO, critics scoffed at the amapiano music genre as a passing fad. Similar critics had also panned hip-hop and kwaito when they first appeared. The very term “hip-hop” was initially derogatory. Yet today, hip-hop has become a juggernaut in the global music industry, generating billions of dollars in annual … Read more

Tasty Waves – Los Angeles Review of Books

SEPTEMBER 8, 2022 GEORGE FREETH may be California’s most underrecognized celebrity, a famous Los Angeles figure during his lifetime who not only seeded the sport of surfing from Hawaii, where he was born, but also established a lifeguard tradition that opened a path for American beach culture. No Freeth, no Beach Blanket Bingo. He taught … Read more

Herzog in the Jungle – Los Angeles Review of Books

AUGUST 23, 2022 WERNER HERZOG’S debut novel, The Twilight World, begins not with protagonist Hiroo Onoda but with a narrator who sounds a lot like Herzog himself. Meditative and slightly mocking, the speaker’s cadences recall the questioning and mordant voiceovers that give the German filmmaker’s documentaries their cool and pointed brilliance. Herzog likes to set … Read more

Decline and Fall – Los Angeles Review of Books

JULY 17, 2022 CONVENTIONALLY, HISTORY HAS been about events and institutions. In the last century, however, a shift in perspective was achieved — associated especially with the name of Fernand Braudel — that considered closely the context in which events took place and institutions established themselves. Attention was now paid to geography — the constraints … Read more

The Allure of Orthodoxy – Los Angeles Review of Books

JULY 4, 2022 AT THE BEGINNING of the The Long Corner, Alexander Maksik’s fourth novel, we find the narrator, Sol, begrudgingly attending a New York City party when he receives an invitation to an island retreat called The Coded Garden. He is to interview its enigmatic and guru-like founder, Sebastian Light. Sol was once a … Read more