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Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California

Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California cover

Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California

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A Best Book of the Year at The Atlantic

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

"[An] absorbing and revealing book. . . . nestling in the fruitful terrain between memoir and criticism." —Geoff Dyer, author of Out of Sheer Rage

Blending memoir and cultural criticism, Matthew Specktor explores family legacy, the lives of artists, and a city that embodies both dreams and disillusionment.

In 2006, Matthew Specktor moved into a crumbling Los Angeles apartment opposite the one in which F. Scott Fitzgerald spent the last moments of his life. Fitz had been Specktor’s first literary idol, someone whose own passage through Hollywood had, allegedly, broken him. Freshly divorced, professionally flailing, and reeling from his mother’s cancer diagnosis, Specktor was feeling unmoored. But rather than giving in or “cracking up,” he embarked on an obsessive journey to make sense of the mythologies of “success” and “failure” that haunt the artist’s life and the American imagination.

Part memoir, part cultural history, part portrait of place, Always Crashing in the Same Car explores Hollywood through a certain kind of collapse. It’s a vibrant and intimate inspection of failure told through the lives of iconic, if under-sung, artists—Carole Eastman, Eleanor Perry, Warren Zevon, Tuesday Weld, and Hal Ashby, among others—and the author’s own family history. Through this constellation of Hollywood figures, he unearths a fascinating alternate history of the city that raised him and explores the ways in which curtailed ambition, insufficiency, and loss shape all our lives.

At once deeply personal and broadly erudite, it is a story of an art form (the movies), a city (Los Angeles), and one person’s attempt to create meaning out of both. Above all, Specktor creates a moving search for optimism alongside the inevitability of failure and reveals the still-resonant power of art to help us navigate the beautiful ruins that await us all.

Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine and That Summertime Sound; a nonfiction book, The Sting; and the forthcoming memoir The Golden Hour (Ecco/HarperCollins). His writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Paris ReviewThe BelieverTin HouseVogueGQBlack Clock, and Open City. He has been a MacDowell fellow, and is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He resides in Los Angeles. www.matthewspecktor.com

ISBN: 9781951142629

ISBN-10: 9781951142629

Publisher: Tin House Books

Publication Date: 07/27/2021 - 12:00am

On Sale: 07/27/2021 - 12:00am

Pages: 300

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts

Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs