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Lightning Field: A Novel Unknown Binding – August, 2001

16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Scribner (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743216709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743216708
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Dana Spiotta is the author of STONE ARABIA, which was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her second novel, EAT THE DOCUMENT, was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. Her first novel, LIGHTNING FIELD, was an LA Times Best Book of the West and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Spiotta received the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2007 and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in 2008. The American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy in Rome awarded her the 2008 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize.

More information can be found at www.danaspiotta.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ghosthornet on August 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Lightning Field is as nuanced and sublime a portrait of life and lifers in contemporary LA as can be found. It is alternately grim and hilarious, as the three protagonists, almost artifacts themselves, stray through the land of artificial. Throughout, old hollywood ghosts and archaic american slang (Eureka, for example) punctuate what is really a document of today. Other old things invested with new life or cast in bright new light: 60's hippie/drug culture-- the "new age," and the library of black and white and technicolor tombs that innundate Mina, our central charater, and her brain.
The characters are not innoculated against the late capitalist infrastructure that surrounds them, and either are we. The evidence for this is in the author's immense talents at rendering comedy from the blight of shopping and the ugliness of a cool chain of concept restaurants that seem dreadful and unreal. Wool stockings and make-up never sounded so fascinating.
The novel assails our current dilema with brilliant turns of wit--the author manages to nail the protagonists and the reader with the sharpest of bullets.
The title refers, tragically and with echoes of the Catcher in the Rye, to the unattainable-- in fact it refers to the unnameable even.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By brad webb on November 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while I read a book that leaves me changed. Lightning Field is one of those rare books that is so disturbingly refreshing I cannot help but be affected by it. Spiota's style is wonderfully indescribable. While most first time authors weave a story of stolen stylistic interpretations, Spiota's style is all her own. The haunting ending might leave some literary fuddy-duddies asking "Why?" But those of you that are tired of reading the same "written formula" in book after uninventive book will breath a sigh of relief. This book is ground breaking and will leave you thinking...for a long time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John McCaffrey on August 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found 'The Lightning Field' to be delightful. Dana Spiotta has truly burst onto the literary stage with all the wit of an Updike or Armistead Maupin, the pace and intricacy of a Robert Altman screenplay and the subtlety and nuance of Gore Vidal. In short, fantastic, witty, insightful on the many facets of our complex urban lives and loves, and a real stonker of a read. Please please tell us you're working on a sequel, Dana Spiotta!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Hendry VINE VOICE on September 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dana Spiotta's Lightning Field is an interesting first novel that initially seemed a little disjointed to me, but then I realized that the disjointedness is the whole point. The novel follows three women in contemporary LA. Mina works at Lorene's upscale, super successful restaurants, is having affairs with two men and is perpetually late because she won't ride in cars any more. Lorene has her own issues, trying to find some sort of satisfaction through new age remedies like spiritual exfoliation. Lisa cleans Lorene's house, trying to scrape by and support her five year old twins and survive her marginally successful marriage. Lisa is the only "real" character in the novel, although Mina and Lorene certainly are believable. Their successes and LA have removed them from what is real, from what Lisa's struggles are all about. The disjointedness in the novel only highlights the disjointedness of Mina and Lorene's life. The writing is marvelous in this novel; it's quick-witted and entertaining, while also being thought-provoking. There are many layers in Lightning Field, enjoy discovering them.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Randall Neustaedter on August 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Autobiographical, revealing, intimate, and touchingly confessional, like many first novels. Do we want to peek at the internal, frustrated and narcissistically driven lives of the sophisticated LA fashionable? You bet. Odd thing is Dana comes off likeable and sympathetic, think Shopgirl, think Pretty Woman. Do we have another voice for the romantically overstimulated hot set? Think High Fidelity and John Cusack. We'll wait and see. Look what happened to Michael Chabon with this kind of introspective, self-examination. Pulitzer Prize. Go Dana. Keep it up. I will buy the next one, gladly. You folks out there with your own literary minded yearnings - buy Dana's book. She could use the encouragement, the admiration, the movie deal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fiona Webster on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the basis of having just finished this first novel by Dana Spiotta, I must say I'm really looking forward to reading her second & third novels (so far). I don't need to spell out the ways that Spiotta is brilliant, because the other positive reviews on this page are spot on: check out, in particular, the one quoting "bang & banish" and the one about the "objective correlative"--an apropos concept not only for the artwork of the lightning field that provides the title but also for the movies streaming through the overstuffed brains of bright Angelenos (Angelenas?) like Mina and Lorene. Even the qualified and negative reviews are helpful in making your decision about whether to read this book, because if you're not the sort of person who enjoys an in-depth exploration of the quirky lives of intelligent yet shallow inhabitants of La-La Land, maybe you shouldn't bother with _Lightning Field_. Think again, though, if you have enjoyed movies or T.V. shows about L.A. ("Six Feet Under," for example, I thought about more than once as Spiotta delved into Mina's complex family dynamics & her equally complex sex life.) You might find, as I did, you have something to learn from Spiotta. Just because the characters are oddly constricted in their outlook on reality--perhaps I should say "reality" =laugh= --doesn't mean the author is!

I'll take issue with just two opinions posted in the customer reviews to date:
(1) that Spiotta's male characters have no depth: we may not learn as much about them as the three female principals, but they each get their unique and nuanced slice of the novelistic pie. Even the male walk-ons are vividly human.
(2) that Spiotta's style isn't like anyone else's: I found her prose very reminiscent of Don DeLillo (e.g.
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