PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY gives PANORAMA CITY a STARRED, BOXED review in this week’s issue:
Wilson’s second novel (after Interloper) is fresh and flawlessly crafted as well as charmingly genuine. Oppen Porter is almost 30, a guileless man who lives in a small central California town with his reclusive father in a house overtaken by nature. Untouched by cynicism, Oppen’s interpretation of the world around him evokes both the sublime and the ridiculous. His daily routine consists of riding into town on his bicycle to find odd jobs, feeling sublime happiness at “the softest burring sound” his tires make on the asphalt, and playing a long-running game of chicken with Hector and Mike Alvarez. But the death of Oppen’s father changes Oppen’s life, sending him to live with his Aunt Liz in Panorama City, in the San Fernando Valley, where he pursues two goals: to become a man of the world (he wants this) and to never again be the village idiot (his Aunt Liz wants this). On his way to his new life, Oppen meets a wise man who threatens to derail Aunt Liz’s plans and bring Oppen’s lofty goal into question. Oppen experiments with various roles—dedicated worker, student of religion, thinker—eventually finding his place in the world, framing a classic coming-of-age story in an unexpected way.
And the following rave review will appear in BOOKLIST’s August 1st issue:
Oppen Porter is 28, six-and-a-half feet tall, surprisingly philosophical, and a self-described “slow absorber.” While lying in a hospital bed, certain that he won’t survive the night after being hit by a truck, he dictates the circumstances leading up to the collision to a tape recorder that will be passed on to his pregnant wife and unborn son. Although Oppen focuses on the relatively short time that he lived in Panorama City after his father passed away, he tries to pepper his story with meaningful life lessons and universal truths for his son’s betterment. Wilson’s Panorama City is a candid and perceptive exploration of how families connect and how society’s most popular methods of advancement may not always be the most beneficial. Oppen is an excellent judge of character, and Wilson’s ability to sketch out such an ideal narrator should be commended. 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.
I am sooooo stoked to see PC getting a nice reception out there in the world of publishing. And a starred review?! I’m over the moon.
Not that I read my reviews.