A Thomas (Pynchon) guide to the South Bay

Posted in books, Daily Breeze by Diane on August 9, 2009

inherentviceThomas Pynchon wrote “Gravity’s Rainbow” when he was living in the South Bay but has never apparently forgotten the Beach Cities: He set his latest, “Inherent Vice,” in Gordita Beach, a stand-in for Manhattan Beach. The book is replete with South Bay references, including Lighthouse Cafe, a Hermosa bar that has survived the area’s gentrification. The nearby Either/Or Bookstore where Pynchon once browsed, has, alas, been gone for several years. The book’s arrival has revived discussion of Pynchon’s South Bay years: Wired mag published a map of Pynchon’s L.A. and invited readers to further annotate it online. The Daily Breeze followed up with a map of its own in today’s paper. Sadly, the accompanying story makes the region look like a real cultural backwater. Reporter Gene Maddaus quoted Redondo book store proprietor Dave Prentice about the dubious literary tastes of his customers, who tend to be lawyers rather than beatniks. “The wives are susceptible to buying expensive books if you tell them they can’t afford them,” Prentice said. “We also sell books by the foot to interior decorators, but they’ve got to be the right color.”


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