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between two coasts

from any human heart, by william boyd:

my nature is essentially urban and, although Los Angeles is indubitably a city, somehow its mores aren’t. maybe it’s the weather that makes it feel forever suburban and provincial: cities need extremes of weather, so that you long for  escape. i could live in Chicago, i think – i’ve enjoyed my trips to Chicago. also there has to be something brutal and careless about a true city – the denizen must feel vulnerable – and Los Angeles doesn’t deliver that either, at lease not in my short experience. i feel too damn comfortable here, to cocooned. these are not experiences of the true city: its nature seeps in under the door and through the windows – you can never be free of it. and the genuine urban man or woman is always curious – curious about life outside on the streets. that just doesn’t apply here: you live in Bel Air and you don’t ask yourself what’s going on in Pacific Palisades – or am i missing something? (351)

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