Oppen Porter, a self-described "slow absorber," thinks he's dying. He's not, but from his hospital bed, he unspools into a cassette recorder a tale of self-determination, from village idiot to man of the world, for the benefit of his unborn son.
Written in an astonishingly charming and wise voice, Panorama City traces forty days and nights navigating the fast food joints, storefront churches, and home-office psychologists of the San Fernando Valley. Ping-ponging between his watchful and sharp-tongued aunt and an outlaw philosopher with the face "of a newly hatched crocodile," Oppen finds himself constantly in the sights of people who believe that their way is the only way for him.
Open-hearted, bicycle-riding, binocular-toting Oppen Porter is "an American original" (Stewart O'Nan) for whom finding one's own way is both a delightful art and a painstaking science. Disarmingly funny and surreptitiously moving, Panorama City makes us see the world, and our place in it, with new eyes.
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"Starred Review. Wilson's second novel (after Interloper) is fresh and flawlessly crafted as well as charmingly genuine." - Publishers Weekly
"Readers who enjoy Mark Haddon and Greg Olear will appreciate Wilson's authorial voice, which blends Oppen's good-natured naïveté and humorous asides with incisive cynicism. A funny, heartfelt, and genuine novel." - Booklist
"It's hard to root for a character who seems as clueless after his transformational journey as he was beforehand. There are some witty moments here, like the scene where he smokes pot for the first time, but this is most likely to appeal to readers who took Forrest Gump seriously." - Kirkus
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Antoine Wilson is the author of the novel The Interloper and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is a contributing editor of A Public Space and lives and surfs in Los Angeles.
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