By Zachary Lazar
What’s it about: three vaguely intertwined stories of real figures (Rolling Stone Brian Jones, underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger, Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil) that tell of the excesses and loss of innocence that were the turbulent 60s.
Why should you read it: extremely well written, vivid accounts of fictional occurrences of real people (one hopes Lazar has good lawyers) and jump cuts in the narrative make for a dizzying and at times nightmarish read about the violent end of cultural myths.
“It was spring, 1966. Anger would go for walks in his new neighborhood, a slum taken over by young people, and try to make sense of the odd mishmash of deterioration and adornment: broken stairways with freshly painted railings, run-down porches crawling with morning glories or draped with a faded American flag. He saw young people holding hands and whispering to each other, or sitting on the sidewalk playing guitars, barefoot, the muscles moving solemnly in their shoulders and arms. In Golden Gate Park, he saw streams of soap bubbles drifting over the lawn, flashing prisms of light, and in the distance behind them there might be anything: a group of truant schoolkids, a girl with a German shepherd, a cross-eyed boy in black body paint juggling a set of knives. Everyone under thirty had decided to be an exception: a musician, a runaway, an artist, a star.”