Panorama City, a description


Panorama City, A Novel

From his deathbed*, twenty-eight-year-old Oppen Porter–an open-hearted, bicycle-riding, binocular-toting, self-described slow absorber–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, Oppen’s account 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.

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.

* Not really.

10 thoughts on “Panorama City, a description

  1. Dammit man, you are a genius! Panorama city is the best book I’ve read in quite some time. Holden Caulfield meets Forrest Gump. Truly inspired and original. Thank you for writing such an amazing book, my words.

  2. looking for a good discussion book for our book club. I enjoyed Panorama City and think this is it. Looking next for discussion questions.

  3. Hi Diana,

    I think HMH might have some discussion questions in the pipeline for the paperback edition out this September.

    Let me know how the book club goes!


  4. I read this book about a year (?) ago and LOVED it. Truly original and thoughtful. I actually wrote down a quote from the book, which I’ve never done before or since. I just finished another book which, although very different, gave me a somewhat similar feeling – actually somewhere in between Panaroma Coty and The Interloper – The sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. You might like it.

    Thanks for writing. I look forward to your next book.
    Karen Bruckner

  5. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for the lovely comments. I haven’t read The Sense of an Ending, but I’ll be sure to check it out. I love his novel Flaubert’s Parrot.


  6. I don’t read much fiction because most of the characters and stories seem too contrived, not consistent. Usually I like ‘slice of life’ stories. Picked up Panorama City at the local library from the fly cover description. it was difficult to read after the first 50 or so pages, Oppen’s Gumplike simplicity was exasperating, but I was also curious to find out how he would develop. Began to look forward to reading a chapter every day.

    As most novels, the ending was somewhat rushed, suddenly a lot happens in a short period of time compared to the more leisurely first 230 pages. I assume its because of author fatigue and publisher page count limits. I’d liked to have the Carmen character been more developed…. Anyway, thanks for a good read. I imagine you found inspiration for the characters from the So Cal beach scene. I live in far North Cal, Humboldt county, you might find interesting character inspiration up here…. BTW, I think I saw one typo, it was near the end, a word that means the opposite of what I think you intended. Didn’t mark it, will try finding it…Best fortune in your writing career and hoping your life is good…. Adam

    ps. I’m 64yo, retired electrical engineer

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