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West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders and Killers in the Golden State
Mark Arax. Public Affairs, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-58648-390-6
These swift, penetrating essays from former Los Angeles Times writer Arax (In My Father's Name) take the measure of contemporary California with a sure and supple hand, consciously but deservedly taking its place alongside Didion's and Saroyan's great social portraits. Expect the unexpected from Arax's reports up and down the state: on the last of the Okies, the latest migrants from Mexico, the tree-sitters of Berkeley, Bay Area conspiracy theorists, an Armenian chicken …