Married 39 years and ready to quit over children's objections

A lot a lot, numerous things happen in “LA Weather”. There are three relationships, three comas, three divorces, a separation, an explo...

A lot a lot, numerous things happen in “LA Weather”. There are three relationships, three comas, three divorces, a separation, an exploration of gender identity, a brain tumor, in vitro fertilization, the end of a career and the threat of bankruptcy. There are other health issues, relationship issues, and characters dealing with past trauma, including miscarriage and rape. Most of these struggles take place in 2016 and are exacerbated by drought, the threat of forest fires and the presidential election.

There’s a lot going on – and in some ways the chaos and mess seems true to family life. The novel sometimes even seems aware of its own scandal, as when a character says, “The more I think about it, the more I think this scheme could only work if we lived in Telenovelaland.” But there is a lack of fallout or causation, forcing the reader to repeatedly suspend disbelief. Events happen quickly and often have little to do with each other; we leave one scene and enter another without having time to think. The characters are caught in a similar whirlwind; they experience “life-changing” events, but within a few pages they revert to contemplating trivialities like trafficking – then move on to entirely new life-changing events. Their actions are more than once described as unintentional – a character buys an orchard “on impulse”; another gets married “on a whim” – and that doesn’t sound psychologically realistic. The Alvarados are also not a particularly sympathetic bunch, which in itself is not objectionable – bad behavior is fruitful fictitious fodder. But there’s a lack of accountability, of engagement with the world, which makes it difficult to invest in the characters or grasp what’s really at stake.

Escandón sets up two tracks: the one where the story takes place and its more complex neighbor, traversing the terrain of family history and the physical world. While the former is hard to digest, the latter is masterfully executed, full of nuance and detail and the telltale signs of a gifted writer who knows her material well. Escandon’s narrative voice is often witty and warm, and his meditations on Los Angeles are lush and lyrical. From the Pacific Ocean, she writes: “Its rippling surface sparkled with bright oranges and reds, sequins in a drag queen dress. It was a light – a hyper-real Technicolor light – that only existed on celluloid and in Los Angeles. “

Towards the end of the book, Oscar reflects, “There were hundreds of cities in his town, each telling a different story. It would take him several lifetimes to understand his many incarnations. The same could be said for “LA Weather”: although it is a lively and ambitious family novel, it ultimately seems to spill out of its real estate domain.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Married 39 years and ready to quit over children's objections
Married 39 years and ready to quit over children's objections
Newsrust - US Top News
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