Streetcars, L.A. in the 80s, and Innocents and Others

Fun fact: Dana Spiotta’s parents met through a Hofstra University production of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which they played Stella and Stanley. (Their classmate Francis Ford Coppola directed.)

As Spiotta releases her fourth novel, Innocents and Others, The New York Times Magazine takes the opportunity to consider her work:

Spiotta writes radiant, concentrated books that, as she has put it, consider ‘‘the way things external to us shape us: money, technology, art, place, history.’’ … But her work isn’t as well known as it should be, and this may have something to do with its deep and uncategorizable ambition: Her books are simultaneously vast and local, exploring great American themes (self-invention, historical amnesia) within idiosyncratic worlds (phone phreaks, ’80s Los Angeles adolescence). She has been compared with Don DeLillo and Joan Didion, but her tone and mood are distinctly her own: She’s fascinated, not alienated.

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Spiotta at home in Syracuse, where she teaches writing at the university. (Credit Erik Madigan Heck for The New York Times.)

According to Goodreads, Spiotta’s new novel is about two L.A. filmmakers and lifelong friends—and the “older, erotic, and mysterious” Jelly, who “cold calls powerful men and seduces them not through sex but through listening.”

Innocents and Others hits shelves March 8th. Hold your copy here.

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