1970s Marin County, California

AAllan at AOL.COM AAllan at AOL.COM
Thu Jul 1 17:35:16 UTC 1999

Rescuing books from a basement flood, I came across a favorite book of mine,
not well known, that renders the language and lifestyle of Marin County, CA
(just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco) in the 1970s with perfect
pitch. It is _The Serial_ by Cyra McFadden, orignally published weekly in the
_Pacific Sun_, then in a spiral-bound edition by Knopf in 1977. Every
paragraph is a gem, but here's a sample from Chapter 50:

Harvey took in the heady Mill Valley gestalt: the steam rising over the
hydra-spa and clouding the glass roof of the Physical Therapy Center, where
Kate currently went for deep foot massage; the tennis types with their status
tans, enhanced, in January, by windburn and goose bumps; the pushers out in
front of the Book Depot. Harvey watched one of them making a sale, cheerfully
accepting an Amex credit card, and recognized Joan's [his daughter's] old
boyfriend Spenser. Upwardly mobile, Spenser now carried his wares in a
monogrammed Mark Cross briefcase.

"Oh, hiya, man," Spenser said, when Harvey went over to him. "What's coming
down, like, back at the ranch-style?" He scrutinized Harvey closely through
his shades. "Hey, what are you doing these days? You really look spacey."

- Allan Metcalf

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