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Lightning Field

A Novel

Dana Spiotta


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*A New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year*

From the National Book Award nominated author of Innocents and Others and Wayward, a “wonderfully funny, accomplished, and far-reaching first novel about our consumer colossus and the human products it makes and shapes” (Don DeLillo).

In her bold and lyrical first novel, Dana Spiotta evokes Los Angeles as a land of Spirit Gyms and Miracle Miles, a great centerless place where chains of reference get lost, or finally don't matter.

Mina lives with her screenwriter husband and works at her best friend Lorene's highly successful concept restaurants, which exploit the desires and idiosyncrasies of a rich, chic clientele. Almost inadvertently, Mina has acquired two lovers. And then there are the other men in her life: her father, a washed-up Hollywood director living in a yurt and hiding from his debtors, and her disturbed brother, Michael, whose attempts to connect with her force Mina to consider that she might still have a heart—if only she could remember where she had left it.

Between her Spiritual Exfoliation and Detoxification therapies and her elaborate devotion to style, Lorene is interested only in charting her own perfection and impending decay. Although supremely confident in a million shallow ways, she, too, starts to fray at the edges.

And there is Lisa, a loving mother who cleans houses, scrapes by, and dreams of food terrorists and child abductors, until even the most innocent events seem to hint at dark possibilities.

Lightning Field explores the language tics of our culture—the consumerist fetishes, the self-obsession, and the possibility that you just might have gotten it all badly wrong.

Playful and dire, raw and poetic, Lightning Field introduces a startling new voice in American fiction.

Praise For Lightning Field: A Novel

Don DeLillo author of Underworld Los Angeles is the air we all breathe in this wonderfully funny, accomplished, and far-reaching first novel about our consumer colossus and the human products it makes and shapes.

Kathryn Harrison author of The Binding Chair or, A Visit from the Foot Emancipation Society I never imagined I'd say this about any novel, but Lightning Field made me want to go back to my hometown, where self-consciousness is an art form and decadence is devoid of pleasure. On the other hand, as tickets to L.A. go, Dana Spiotta's is a lot cheaper -- and smarter.

Diane Leslie author of Fleur De Leigh's Life of Crime Dana Spiotta's characters slink about in a Los Angeles that is hazy, not with smog, but with ever-smoldering, addictive substances. Lightning Field is an evocative, mellifluous, and convincing novel.

Steve Erickson author of Days Between Stations In the city of masks and mirrors Dana Spiotta's dazzling novel is a quiet rampage, the empty streets of the Morning After glittering with broken glass, and the gutters blowing with shreds of disguise like black confetti.

Bret Easton Ellis author of Glamorama A truly convincing L.A. novel: the scraped nerves, the free-floating dissatisfaction, the lingering scenes in chic, empty restaurants and hotel bars, the conversations with the tense inflections that don't reveal anything, the nowhere sex with wandering, absent lovers, a place where everything's a reference to a movie and the pull of wanting to be someone you're not is inescapable -- and finally the half-hearted escape and the inevitable return. Dana Spiotta's focus and control and insight are remarkable; this raw, skillful book, revelatory.

Scribner, 9780743223751, 224pp.

Publication Date: August 1, 2002

About the Author

Dana Spiotta is the author of Innocents and Others; Stone Arabia, A National Books Critics Circle Award finalist; and Eat the Document, a finalist for the National Book Award. Spiotta is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize for Literature. Her most recent novel is Wayward. She lives in Syracuse, New York.