Lightning Field

Lightning Field

Dana Spiotta / Oct 17, 2019

Lightning Field The Los Angeles Dana Spiotta evokes in her bold and strangely lyrical first novel is a land of Spirit Gyms and Miracle Miles a great centerless place where chains of reference get lost or finally do

  • Title: Lightning Field
  • Author: Dana Spiotta
  • ISBN: 9780743223751
  • Page: 443
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Los Angeles Dana Spiotta evokes in her bold and strangely lyrical first novel is 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 often unconscious desiresThe Los Angeles Dana Spiotta evokes in her bold and strangely lyrical first novel is 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 often unconscious 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 eeting possibility that you just might have gotten it all badly wrong In funny, cutting, unsentimental prose, Spiotta exposes the contradictions of contemporary lives in which identity is a collection of references She writes about overcoming not just despair but ambivalence Playful and dire, raw and poetic, Lightning Field introduces a startling new voice in American fiction.

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      443 Dana Spiotta
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      Published :2019-02-27T06:30:24+00:00

    About "Dana Spiotta"

      • Dana Spiotta

        Scribner published Dana Spiotta s first novel, Lightning Field, in 2001 The New York Times called it the debut of a wonderfully gifted writer with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadnesses of contemporary life, and an unerring ear for how people talk and try to cope today It was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the West.Her second novel, Eat the Document, was published in 2006 by Scribner It was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters Michiko Kakutani wrote in her review in The New York Times that Eat The Document was stunning and described it as a book that possesses the staccato ferocity of a Joan Didion essay and the razzle dazzle language and the historical resonance of a Don DeLillo novel Stone Arabia is the title of Spiotta s third novel Scribner will publish it on July 12, 2011.


    1. If a shotgun wielding redhead jammed a double barrel between my lips, told me to reach my hands toward the stars, spit a glob of chewing tobacco six inches from my left foot, and then asked me this dreaded question: What is the theme of LIGHTNING FIELD? I’d tell her I have no idea, shut my eyes tight, and hope her nicotine-induced haze didn’t include a trigger pull, as she offered up a bit of mercy on my soul.What I can tell you, though, is infidelity and the fragility of the human spirit ru [...]

    2. How Superb is Thy Blurb!Don DeLillo blurbed Dana Spiotta's debut:"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."And here's Bret Easton Ellis (whom Spiotta has in turn described as a "fascinating and sly writer"):"A truly convincing L.A. novel: the scraped nerves, the free-floating dissatisfaction, the lingering scenes in chic, empty restaurants and hotel bars, the [...]

    3. Stolen from the very vocal chords of Don DeLillo. That's the strongest impression I get, and it shouldn't surprise that DeLillo glowingly praised this debut novel. The vocal calque isn't a negative--entirely. But it's interesting reading this compared to Spiotta's most recent work"Stone Arabia" where the voice and narrative feels and sounds so wholly uninfluenced. It's unique to the characters, and, well more honest. But that's what this book is really about. Dishonesty and deception and appeara [...]

    4. For some reason I thought this was going to be dystopian. Instead, it's just kind of bad, in a 'bad first novel that shows promise' kind of way. And indeed 'Eat the Document,' while far from great, was substantially better than LF. Hopefully Stone Arabia is another big step up. Do you like bad Don Delillo? Because I'm ambivalent even about moderately good Don Delillo, but Spiotta here has reproduced everything that's unpleasant about his worst books--the stylized but also fakely-naturalized dial [...]

    5. Spiotta gets constant comparisons to Delillo and Didion and these aren't imprecise, she offers the almost clinical dissection of the objects and anxieties that define our modern condition of the former and spare and stark style of the latter. Her first book features her at her murkiest, operating in a Bergmanesque fog of confused identity and enigmatic scenes, very detached and opaque most of the times and then almost humorous at others. It is cold book that offers up plenty of satire and surrea [...]

    6. There's something very sad and grubby about this smartly observed, funny and dark novel. Mina, the novel's main character, and her old friend Lorene present 2 kinds of Los Angeles disaffection. Plain-looking Mina has too many men and too many secrets. For now, gorgeous Lorene has no man at all, but is instead in the thrall of an array of aesthetic obsessions. This might be the first novel I've read where one of the main characters has breast implants. It's also one of the only books I've read th [...]

    7. I thought to myself: this is like a mix between Didion and DeLillo. Then I saw the blurb inside the front cover from People magazine that said it was like a mix between Didion and DeLillo. Conclusion: I could write for People magazine.

    8. An extremely well-written book, funny and fragmented, incisive and sardonic. One of the best works of literary fiction I've read in a long time.

    9. It’s hard to talk about Lightning Field and not compare it to other LA books — it feels like a younger, updated version of Play It As It Lays, a woman’s Less Than Zero. Like Didion’s protagonist, Spiotta’s is a woman who has disconnected from her soul, and who vacillates between looking for it in all the wrong places and just not giving a shit. And like both Ellis and Didion, Spiotta does what LA writers do best: she gloriously, shamelessly celebrates everything that anyone who has eve [...]

    10. Dana Spiotta is a fabulous writer -- totally unsentimental in her delivery, is a master at nonlinear narrative, and astute in her character's observations.This book however -- just couldn't get into it. Spiotta seems fascinated with our generation's apathy and obsession with pop culture. She plays in to the hyper self-awarenessness of her two leads, Mina and Lorene: long wordy internal monologues about outward appearance, the cinematic nature of everything in LA, the secrets everyone inevitably [...]

    11. A very slick, polished book for a debut novel. The characters are all aloof and distant to me, but they were well developed. I like Spiotta's writing a lot, but I always feel like I'm on the outside of the scenes looking in through a window; I just don't ever develop any closeness to any of her characters.This story takes place in Hollywood, and definitely feels L.A.-ish, from Spiotta's use of film as a metaphor and all the references to movies and actors. It follows the lives of three women, an [...]

    12. Mina walks in LA, including to work where she manages one of Lorene's high-end, high concept restaurants. Mina's brother Michael is Lorene's brilliant, self-abusive ex-lover. Mina's and Michael's father has escaped to a yurt in the Ojai Valley. Mina escapes into generic hotel rooms with one lover and is videotaped by another. Her husband is immersed in old movies and endless revisions of his screenplay. Lorene is not only devoted to her restaurants, but to a high concept gym, where she receives [...]

    13. Like all of Dana Spiotta's books, this novel has a tart, dry tone, which I quite like. The ending wasn't as strong a resolution as the characters deserved, but I think that's a common failing of first novels. The characters are really great, especially Mina; she really seems like a person when in a lesser writer's hands I think she would just be a collection of quirks. Spiotta is sensitive here to the disturbing lack of privacy and autonomy inherent to a more interconnected and relentlessly exam [...]

    14. The NYT Magazine did a compelling profile on Dana Spiotta recently, and pleasantly I rediscovered that I already owned one of her novels, Lightning Field, picked up at a summer book sale and momentarily forgotten in the back of my closet. The comparisons to Joan Didion and Don Delillo were promising, and so was the book - it was promising of Spiotta's talent as a writer and a wordsmith, but the book itself felt incomplete. I understand that malaise and ambiguity were core elements of the book, b [...]

    15. I stumbled across Dana Spiotta's "Eat The Document" a month or so ago at a used bookstore on the $2 table and decided to give it a try. I enjoyed that book so much, I picked up her first book, "Lightning Field" at the library quickly after. I read it briskly, but not without feeling a bit empty. I would summarize this book as a book of "space" -- the need for space from our self, our work, our surroundings, our significant others, etcally boiling down to the articulation (or not) of our unconsci [...]

    16. Even though the main(ish?) protagonist is fucked up, she's not a female fuck-up because she's not rejecting the societal norm and setting out on her own, dedicated path. She's vaguely Hollywood, stuck on beauty and sex. There are other characters whose POVs we get, and it lends an amorphous, loose, unfinished air to a book that, itself, I would consider to be the female fuck-up: It's rejecting a strong sense of cohesion which feels to be a dedicated stylistic choice. It just happens to fail (whi [...]

    17. Lightning Field…marvelous work. The sarcastic commentary about the frivolous aspects of people’s lives, layered with an undercurrent of such serious introspection. Mina’s raw sensuousness and unfathomable neediness combined to make her such an appealing character. The relationships interweaving through all the characters revealed such an intriguing network of the flaws and imperfections that make all of us so interesting.Ms. Spiotta's writing sucked me in to the narrative. Her use of langu [...]

    18. Please don't ask me what this book is about. I just finished it, and already I've forgotten. I'm not really sure why I even read it, since my nightstand is loaded with other, more gripping books. More than anything, it reminds me of Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, only less coherent and not quite as structurally inventive. (And I didn't exactly love Goon Squad. Heresy, I know!) I'm not giving on Dana Spiotta, though. Next time, I'll try Eat the Document or Stone Arabia, the books th [...]

    19. Interesting book. She gets away with a lot of not having many of the sections have much immediate effect on any of the others (i.e. nothing "happening") and I was sold by the part early on when the main character buys makeup and then realizes she doesn't want any of it only after she gets out on the street and looks in the bag. I hope this book is the new, quieter way in less conventional "popular" fiction. It's a pretty good step, at least.

    20. At first, I thought: yuck, these characters are shallow, vain and stupid. But I kept reading, because it was easy enough to skate through a few pages at bedtime. Suddenly, about 1/3 of the way in, I was more interested. Pretty soon, I could not put it down. Somehow the main character became more compelling, without necessarily undergoing any transformation. At the end I thought, "how did she do that?"I'm adding Spiotta to my list of authors to read.

    21. Because I am a big fan of Spiotta's Eat the Document (highly recommended), I decided to read her first novel, Lightning Field. Spiotta's sort of "hipster narrative" was a little difficult to accept at first (it actually took me two times to get through this book) but once you get into the flow of it, it really works. The book very nicely captures the atmosphere of life in Los Angeles (although, in this case, it's not one that makes you want to live there)

    22. Spiotta's good, but this was no Eat the Document, which I loved. A story of three (though one gets less treatment) women in contemporary LA. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, in part because the two primary women are a little more aggressive (with men, with work) than a lot of women in books, but I think I'll end up forgetting the book. It feels fleeting.

    23. It's weird to read someone's first novel after reading the rest of her books. This novel is kind of a mess. The structure is a bit all over the place. The two main characters have almost identical voices so that they blend too much. But, there is still some really good writing here. I love how far she's come since writing this book, but this isn't her best.

    24. nauseatingly self-involved. the prose is good, but the unlikeable characters sleeping around a plotless novel? the best prose in the world can't save a sinking ship. the most compelling relationship is the one between mina and michael, and all of it happens in the past disappointed. the structure is god awful.

    25. Good read but it makes me wonder when our fiction became so rife with characters who over-analyze and over-qualify everything they do. When did we become that way? What about just living life? I do like that Lorene tries to an extent enjoy life for what it is when she is in New Orleans.

    26. This book was terrible. I never really knew what was happening. It was hard to keep track because the author was constantly skipping around. As far as I am concerned, there was no point to the plot. Would not recommend.

    27. Somehow I missed Spiotta's first book so I circled back and it's a good onet quite Stone Arabia but well worth the time. The usual themesx, movies etcbut impressive style with lots of change of point of view, all handled very deftly.

    28. A chilly, fascinating novel about contemporary SoCal culture as a matrix for female friendship, sexual relationships, success (or lack thereof). The writing rings true, if in (to me) disaffected tones.

    29. She's got a thing about brothers. Protagonists of both Lightning Field and Stone Arabia worship their brothers who are both psychologically problematic.

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