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Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles: An Accidental Memoir

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Kate Braverman grew up in Los Angeles in the late 1950s at the time when glitz was just beginning to be manufactured. Her Los Angeles was made up of stucco tenements, welfare, and the marginalized. It wasn't a destination city, it was the end of the line.

Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles chronicles the trajectory of Braverman's Left Coast generation with a voic
Paperback, 180 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Graywolf Press
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Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This was so much better than I expected. This was the first book of Braverman's I've read, and it annihilated me. Her work is as lyrical as Rikki Ducornet's, as observant and insouciant as Don DeLillo's and as chiseled as that of Joy Williams. This book is a treasure trove of ideas, of scintillating rage, of beautiful sentences. 2008 is gonna see me go on a serious Braverman binge.
Meg Tuite
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is intense, mesmerizing! Braverman has such beauty of language and blasts through her life in LA as a kid until the time she decides to move away to the Allegheny Mountains as foreign from LA as she is from it. And then finally the middle ground: San Francisco. It's Braverman! It's exceptional!
Diann Blakely
I'm re-reading this one now and thinking back to when I ordered a review copy; the publicist protested "she left out all the good stuff!" Well, it depends on what you mean by "good stuff."

Braverman is a cult figure, already legendary at the age of 60, and I have reviewed a number of her books, often with Denis Johnson's, for I think they are the best writers of their generation Her website contains many links and fascinating interviews concerning language, consumerism, "writing as criminal behav
Mark Underwood
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Literary fiction, poetic fiction
More than once, Braverman and I have met beneath the jacaranda trees, near the oleander. The freeway roar is beside us at dusk. The cancer hospital, with its hidden little tragedies, masturbatory grant-getting is on the other side of a concrete ravine. My parents died there. Or perhaps it was her parents. We paid for them to die there. It was part of the deal.

The Transmissions here are closer to intromissions, and not of the ecstatic sort. Braverman's transmissions are composed by first deconstr
Ted Burke
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Frantic Transmissions to and From Los Angeles is a memoir, of sorts, about growing up in Los Angeles, and then the eventual moving away from that famously center-less city. Writing in a high poetic and semiotically engaged style that recalls the best writing of Don DeLillo (Mao ll) and Norman Mailer (Miami and the Seize of Chicago), Braverman deftly defines isolated Los Angeles sprawl and puts you in those cloistered, cul-de-sac'd neighborhoods that you drive by on the freeway or pass on the com ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
If anyone is interested in a book that is a classic example of "uneven" this is it. I have been a fan since her first book and her writing, especially the imagery, is exquisite. It's the content that bothers me and made me want to throw the book across the room a couple of times.

I loved the chapters about her low-down childhood in L.A. It's the adult years I had trouble with, especially that chapter extolling the wonders of L.A. shopping malls and all the marvelous things she could buy there. I
Robert Vaughan
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic tome, a romp at times a diatribe, invective, and lovely, disturbing, unsettling in all the very best ways. Part story in its narrative, yet contains numerous stunning poetic lines, sections like spun gold, the pace like a locomotive train. I admired the differing points-of-view, like Aunt Sarah's, or even the Q & A with iconic star Marilyn Monroe. And how the city, Los Angeles, becomes a character like no other I've ever read. It was quirky, confessional, funny, and yet s ...more
Oct 16, 2007 rated it liked it
any one of these frantic transmissions is good, but all together they become somewhat of a repitition.
certain metaphors, such as the improbability of the names of boulevards in the LA basin to an east coast, or non-hispanic ear, are intersting once, but they occur several times - it seems to need closer editing.

the childhood reminiscences however are strikingly tactile - and ms braverman can definitely turn a phrase - i once heard a listener comment on her just mot and she said simply - "i know
Jun 01, 2008 rated it liked it
It was okay. A lot of it was pretentious as a swooping bat on a fallen sky. Worse. But there were some entertaining chapters in the mix.

Man, Braverman REALLY has issues with Los Angeles. It's a variety of hang-up I can't even begin to understand; as a military brat, I'm not really from anywhere. I've lived all over the place, and have some morsel of nostalgia for every one of those cities. I don't think I could even rant as fiercely against South Florida, and there is NO WAY by anyone's yardsti
Jen Hirt
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Kate Braverman's memoir about Los Angeles -- seem from the inside and from the far-outside-upstate-new-york residence where she lives for six years -- is like a city of language that knocks you flat. I will remember her amazing descriptions of the autumn colors, which she often compares to wine. This is the first Brvaerman book I've read, and I'm captivated by her nonfiction style, which is clearly closer to poetry than to fiction.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: los angelenos, midnight vultures, multi-genre-tistas
Los Angeles is a difficult city to put into words. There are languages to account for, and cultures, and the millions of people. There is the anti-culture of the place, the showbusiness and sexuality and suburbanity. I always thought that Beck's album "Midnight Vultures" had the best portrayal of this mercurial place, and still do. Braverman book is a true accomplishment and rivals that succinct vision of a peculiar place that no one really loves but everyone wants to talk about.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
well, somewhere between a 3 and a 4. I enjoyed this crazy love/hate diatribe about LA, but it probably helped to have lived there. Like all group of essays some are more fun than others.
Anna Jones
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Not what I was expecting, but a good read even if I had to despair what she was talking about between the constant flashbacks.
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs, 2011
a bit repetitive, a bit out there, but I think it's one of those things you have to live to experience and appreciate.
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Kate Braverman (born 1950) is an American novelist, short story writer, and poet, originally from Los Angeles, California, who has garnered great acclaim for works including the novels Lithium for Medea (1979), Palm Latitudes (1988), Wonders of the West (1993), and The Incantation of Frida K (2001). Her most significant work has been in stylistic hybrid forms built upon poems and rendered as short ...more
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