"In this brief but engaging book, the author chronicles his wanderings through the streets and his conversations with friends, entrepreneurs, and officials, and he makes it clear that he has read every book and seen every movie on his subject. Those who know the city will have the advantage, but Ulin casts his net widely, so most readers will enjoy his observations of Los Angeles in literary and popular art as well as his thoughtful personal views."—Kirkus
"In Sidewalking, Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin wanders L.A.—along Wilshire, around Bunker Hill, through the Grove—and as he does, he ponders the city’s fading past and emerging future. A self-described 'reluctant Angeleno,' Ulin, who moved here from New York in 1991, brings a sharp eye, a good pair of legs, and a sensitive thoughtfulness to the subject of urban sprawl. Ulin’s musings are immediately relevant, covering everything from the Metro Purple Line extension to Rick Caruso’s proposed downtown trolley to Councilman Jose Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway campaign."—Los Angeles Magazine
"The moments of true beauty in this shortest of books are precisely when Ulin reminds us that the everyday texture of Los Angeles . . . already functions like a quantum field out of which distant influences, disorienting urban rebirths and half-remembered cinematic cameos are constantly emerging. It is a city of 'seismic existentialism,' he wonderfully suggests, whose ground is shaken not just by earthquakes but by the seemingly endless eruption of alternative urban forms, often successfully breaking through."—Geoff Manaugh Los Angeles Times
"Walking in Los Angeles is not an oxymoron. In this revealing meditation on what it means to pound the pavement in the City of Automobiles, book critic David L. Ulin observes a Los Angeles that many of us didn't even knew existed. . . . Thoughtful and poetic, Ulin's small volume proves there is more to the City of Angels than just beaches, movie stars and abundant sunshine."—June Sawyers Chicago Tribune
"In a series of fascinating, at times impressionistic, disquisitions [Ulin] unlocks some of Los Angeles’s “hieroglyphic” secrets. Step right up then for Ulin’s tour of Los Angeles, a diffuse city full of 'nonlandmark landmarks.' . . . The pleasure of Sidewalking is watching Ulin contextualize each place by considering the way its history is preserved, effaced, or buried under the surface."
—Matt Seidel Los Angeles Review of Books
"David Ulin’s Sidewalking opens LA up for all of us—locals or not. A quietly stirring book, this should be on your must-read list. . . . I loved it and can’t wait to read it again and again."—Anna March The Rumpus
, David Ulin
brilliantly reflects on the city as experienced by someone with a need to walk, a need to savor streetscapes, registering signage, vistas, vegetation, fellow citizens. And while Ulin walks, he thinks: processing traces of history, architectural styles, street plans, demographics, changes. A longtime L.A. Times book critic
, Ulin, intimately familiar with the best that’s ever been written about this sprawling, layered city, also artfully folds in the perceptions of others. Memories, observations, bygone L.A., 21st-century L.A.—Ulin’s superlative tapestry makes this the latest of great literary takes on the City of Angels."—Bookish
is a profound and poetic book. It is a meditation not only on the strange and marvelous nature of Los Angeles but also on the nature of history, memory, and community itself. This is nonfiction writing at its very best."
—Susan Orlean, staff writer for the New Yorker
and author of seven books, including the New York Times
bestseller The Orchid Thief
will cement David Ulin’s already well-deserved reputation as a leading literary critic. Like a good, long walk, his book is an exercise in patience, observation, and reflection. At the end of the journey, you feel you’ve been someplace—and you feel illuminated and enlightened."
—Héctor Tobar, author of the New York Times
bestseller Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free
"An inspiring challenge to engage with urban life, Sidewalking
raises unprejudiced questions about city and 'city'—the built environment and the individual’s own experience of it. L.A.'s famous sprawl and very human neighborhoods, its uneasy meld of public and private spaces, its legendary gridlock, its organic and artificial environments, all feature in what is no less than the teasing out of a new and nuanced interpretation of the nature of 'urbanity’ itself."
—Janet Fitch, author of Paint It Black
and White Oleander
"I see this book as a benign remake of [the movie] Falling Down
. In this version, Michael Douglas, after abandoning his car, has the good fortune to bump into David Ulin, who not only offers to accompany him on his journey home but also suggests a few extensive detours. In the course of their walking-talk tour, Douglas learns that he has the good fortune to reside in a fascinating city and goes on to live a fulfilled—and inquiring—life."
—Geoff Dyer, author of numerous books, including But Beautiful,
winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize
"There are so many lines in this book I’d like to have at my fingertips, so many rational, logical, wholly original arguments for why Los Angeles is deeper and more soulful than it can seem, that I almost wish I could keep it in my pocket for whenever an outsider coughs up the usual hoary insults. As it is, Sidewalking
has taken up welcome and necessary residence in my mind. And, to be precise, David Ulin doesn’t argue on behalf of his adopted city. He observes, he challenges, he shows his abiding and complicated love for the place. Which is only right, since when it comes to L.A.’s status as the most surprising and mysterious city in America, there is no argument." —Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion