I came across this novel in Goodreads. I followed with interest the author's reviews of other works and his blog and I must admit I loved the title. It had been on my `to read' list for a while, and I'm pleased to say that I finally found the time to read it and I'm very pleased I did.
Lost Angeles reads like a memoir, but not your standard memoir (if there is such a thing). The book follows the protagonist, Doug, a young and articulate man from Belfast, and his travels/adventures in Los Angeles. Doug is not in Los Angeles to see the sights, although the does see many sights (some that none of us would wish to see). From the beginning you realise that he's there with a mission. You don't come to realise quite how determined he is to self-destruct until much later in the book. He drinks, takes drugs, engages in casual sex, and drifts from cheap accommodation to even cheaper digs (including the `Lost Angeles' of the title that used to be a place for sex for sale) all the time meeting real people. Some idiots, some nice but misguided, some lost and looking, some also drifters.
The reasons for Doug's trip are slowly revealed through interspersed chapters about his life back home (I'm a bit reluctant to call them flashbacks. They're memories, but too long, detailed and elaborate to be what's more generally understood as flashback). You quickly realise that he's mourning the end of what seems to have been his most significant relationship, but later you realise that there is more to it than that, and come to care and empathise with Doug even more. Because if there's something notable about the novel is that despite behaviour that many of us would neither approve of, not adhere to, we like Doug. He might drive us insane if we met him but...whilst embarked on his self-destructive path he tries his hardest to help others and to do no harm. By the end you're rooting for him and hope that against all odds things will work out for him.
A very personal novel, I truly enjoyed Lost Angeles. This is a novel for adults and I'd recommend it to anybody who wants to read about real people coping with life, as best they can. I look forward to many more books by Mr Louden.
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Monday, 8 July 2013
Doug Morgan is a young Irishman in Los Angeles with ten grand in his pocket and self-destruction in mind. With this premise, you could be forgiven for thinking that David Louden's 'Lost Angeles' would be little more than a comical booze-fuelled odyssey through the low (and high) life of Noughties Hollywood. But what Louden achieves is much greater than this. By contrasting and paralleling Morgan's misadventures in the acid neon glare of the clubs and dives of L.A.with the unravelling relationship in wintryBelfast that led him there, Louden has created a work of depth and warmth that means for once, Bukowski comparisons are justified. Louden has a turn of phrase that could put bigger names to shame, and an eye for detail that means his Belfast and North Hollywood are as sharply-defined as the well-drawn characters. Moving, big-hearted and often hilarious, Louden has produced something genuinely special. Not to be missed.
I've always been fascinated with the dark side of life; how somebody from an affluent family can tumble into the abyss of drugs and alcohol or how somebody from the worst possible upbringing can rise above it all and find success. But most of the time, in real life, it's a little of both, somebody from an all too common place in society claws their way up and then...bam!...there is a catalyst, spins a person around, and the descent into darkness begins. This is life and this is, much to my pleasure, the joy and truth of reading Lost Angeles. David Louden brings to life a cast of colorful, deeply flawed, characters and puts them in one place as he unfolds a tale of love, lust, loss, strength, sorrow, friendship, joy and, most importantly, hope, all displayed through an alcohol saturated, drug hazed lens. I loved this book for its honesty and its humor, but also for its glimpses into the potential darkness that looms within all of us. I especially loved it, however, for its humanity. Five stars? Absolutely
Friday, 5 July 2013
LOST ANGELES is free from Thursday 4th of July to Saturday 6th July (inclusive) from Amazon.
There'd normally be a picture or one of those handy little embedded links here but I'm moving house have no Internet and currently writing this on my phone on a fold out seat on a train next to the toilets.