11 May 2009

Lost in the City.

I have recently read Edward P. Jones's Lost in the City. It's an amazing book, and it makes me miss DC in so many ways. The funny thing, though, is that the text itself misses DC -- the neighborhoods and communities it invokes are largely gone, done in by either riots or urban renewal.

The opening story is a good example. "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons" tracks a girl and her father in a neighborhood that has been completely razed to make way for various DC and Federal agencies, including DCPS. The story takes place in the final years of the neighborhood, as family after family abandon their homes for someplace else -- either the suburbs or another neighborhood safe from the rumors that the railroad (an industry also in decline whether it knew it then or not) will be taking over their property soon.

So there's great loss in terms of communities, and the characters are lost to themselves in a city that for many of them remains safe only on the neighborhood level.

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