Edendale Now Available in Paperback
Last month we announced that Phyl van Ammers novel Edendale, long serialized here on Boryanabooks, had been published as an Amazon Kindle book. Now we can add that there is a full paperback edition, also available from Amazon. Now is your chance to read Phyl van Ammers’ generations-long tribute to the people of the near mythical Edendale in Los Angeles’s northern hills in one convenient format. Her warm reconstruction of the past seventy years of Echo Park, Silver Lake, and their adjacent neighborhoods will please current and former residents and the numberless visitors who know these streets well.
It’s where Charlie Chaplin got his start in silent movies, Frank Capra wrote gags, Harold Lloyd drove his “Butterfly” automobile after a traffic cop into the Echo Park Lake, real cowboys who became actors and fake Indians chased across the farmland and horse ranches that are now homes and businesses. Snow White slept in a cottage modeled after a rental house on Griffith Park Boulevard. Modern television shows and movies still play against and in the built environment.
The neighborhoods of Chavez Ravine, Elysian Park, Griffith Park, Silver Lake (Bohemian Hill), Fat Hill, Red Hill, Glassell Park, Frogtown (Elysian Valley), Toonerville (Atwater Village), Chicken Corner in Echo Park and that extends east across the river to Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights, south to Bunker Hill and further south to Watts (South Central) and west to Toilet Corners in Venice comprise fictional Edendale.
The characters in the made-up Edendale come from the Black Sea, from a shtetl in Ukraine, from slavery in the Southern States, from Japan, from the Polish enclave in Hopewell, Virginia, from Bulgaria, from the island of Curacao, and from Mexico. They fall in love, read Ina Coolbrith’s poetry, sing in a scratchy old voice, dry clean, press and sew clothes, sell rags, drink malted milk, swim in the Pacific Ocean, live homeless along the river, practice law, play the piano and the violin, teach school children, research in a library, take the train to Union Station, soldier in World War II, fly into the ocean, go mad, take acid and hallucinate, and are struck by a hit-and-run driver. Some of the characters die, and their survivors attend the funerals and say bad things about the departed.