Inspired by Alice in Wonderland
In Chiara Barzini's novel, Things That Happened Before the Earthquake, cultures clash when an Italian teenager moves to the suburbs of Los Angeles in the weeks following the 1992 riots.
"It felt like the city was still burning when we stepped off the airplane. Was it the riots, or was I just not yet used to the incendiary quality of the warm Santa Ana, the “devil winds” that blew in from the desert. The sunset behind the freeway? As we drove toward our house, we saw police choppers in the sky, metallic dragonflies emitting shafts of white beams moving probingly over the concrete below. Our cat, Mao, who had traveled from Rome with us, miaowed inconsolably. Nothing felt welcoming, and my father knew it."
No topless sunbathing here please!
Photo: Author Chiara Barzini as a teenager, left, on the beach in California with a friend
Photo: Nacio Jan Brown
L.A. just after the riots brought on by the beating of Rodney King in ’92.