Adrift in LA
Thomas More’s original ideal society, the island of Utopia, is really ‘nowhere’ or ‘no place’, though a ‘nowhere’ quite specifically somewhere in the New World. I only learned this a couple of years ago when I read More’s classic work while researching a book about the sale of London Bridge to America. The bridge now stands in Lake Havasu City. En route to see it I spent a week in Los Angeles, and it was there, at a drinks party in a geodesic dome in the Hollywood hills, that someone suggested I read Alison Lurie’s novel The Nowhere City (1965). Initially it was the title that grabbed me. But from the opening page, with its clipping from a real newspaper report about a class of schoolchildren trying to recreate the first Thanksgiving feast on a Californian surfing beach, I was entranced.