If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now

Overview

Bronwyn and Paul are a couple stranded at a "temporary" stop on their inevitable way to Hollywood glamour—in a house that is so ugly, so frayed, so...brown that it's almost cool. But just as the Bohemian life is wearing painfully thin, their fortunes change, catapulting them out of the world of practical problems and into the world of ethical ones.

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Overview

Bronwyn and Paul are a couple stranded at a "temporary" stop on their inevitable way to Hollywood glamour—in a house that is so ugly, so frayed, so...brown that it's almost cool. But just as the Bohemian life is wearing painfully thin, their fortunes change, catapulting them out of the world of practical problems and into the world of ethical ones.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a celebrated book of essays and a highly praised one-woman show under her belt, Loh is the current queen of generational angst and ethnic ennui on the airwaves, stage and printed page. In works with such titles as Depth Takes a Holiday and Aliens in America, Loh has explored, with brio and satiric affection, what it means to be an ethnic American living in L.A. Here, in her fiction debut, Loh chronicles the travails of her beleaguered protagonist, Bronwyn Peters, a 30-ish graduate student who's stuck in Bohemian chic long after her peers have given up Guatemalan earrings and brass elephant planters for $200 haircuts and recessed kitchen lighting. Bronwyn has little to show for herself except a longtime boyfriend, Paul, who wears Elvis Costello glasses and lives with her in a very unfashionable neighborhood on the outskirts of L.A. Paul wants to be a screenwriter, while Bronwyn simply wants a tiled kitchen with copper pots. Loh tracks the couple's descent into the very L.A. pretensions they have long avoided: moving to a downtown condo, trading their VW bus for a Geo Futura, turning the dial from NPR to Lite FM. She attempts to capture the comic tensions of an environmentally sensitive generation with middle-class ambitions; but the idea of chasing the American dream in a beat-up old VW on the L.A. freeways holds more promise than what's delivered. The characters never really achieve dimension, stuck as they are in Loh's breezy send-up. More important, she never does lob the firebombs she so accurately aimed in her previous books. (Sept.) FYI: Riverhead will publish paperback editions of Depth Takes a Holiday and Aliens in America in September.
Library Journal
Loh's Depth Takes a Holiday, a book of essays about (don't laugh) L.A.'s cultural scene, was a surprise best seller. This, her first novel, tells of a pair of wannabe Hollywooders.
Entertainment Weekly
Struggling couple pining for Hollywood glitter star in this witty debut novel from the mouthpiece of the under-40 L.A. crowd.
Kirkus Reviews
The author's patented sly under-30 humor renders her first novel a triumphant addition to a canon that already includes an essay collection, Depth Takes a Holiday (1996), and her much-feted one-woman show, "Aliens in America."

If Bronwyn Peters is such a good young liberal, listening to NPR, giving money to good causes and stalwartly maintaining a bohemian lifestyle in the wasteland of Tujunga, a tract-house suburb not far from L.A., how come so many bad things keep happening to her? Once the hip batik-wearing girlfriend of the most successful writing student at San Jose State, Bronwyn is still, six years later (at the onset of the '90s) just "the girlfriend," while writer Paul, whose attempts to sell a screenplay keep bombing, sinks deeper and deeper into a showbiz-induced depression. They're also sinking slowly into debt, but worst of all is Bronwyn's sense that despite Paul's Talent they're really just extras in someone else's movie—two anonymous, black-clad members of "Los Angeles' vast, undocumented hip," with "the crust of disappointment. . .all over them, the wild-eyed, sunburned despair." Yet Paul refuses to share Bronwyn's dream of ditching this city in favor of East Coast academia—even when her women's studies fellowship is canceled in favor of a new minority studies program ("It's the ethnics against the women!" her advisor whispers). By the time the L.A. riots destroy any chance that Bronwyn and Paul will ever crawl out from under their real estate debt and escape L.A., Bronwyn has realized that she and Paul are simply not destined to win in this world—and that there's not really anything to do about it but get married and live as happily as possible.

If some of Loh's comic references are a bit shopworn (corporate promotional parties, showbiz talk), that doesn't mean they aren't dead-on funny and true.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573226950
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/11/1998
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Tsing Loh

Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer/performer whose most recent one-person show, the critically acclaimed Aliens in America, was published by Riverhead in paperback this September. Loh has also performed her monologues in the 1996 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and on NPR radio. She is the winner of a 1995 Pushcart Prize for fiction and a MacDowell Fellowship and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Los Angeles Times and in Buzz magazine, where she penned "The Valley" column. Her essay collection, Depth Takes a Holiday, was a hardcover bestseller and has already hit the Los Angeles Times paperback bestseller list at #3.

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