Walking to Hollywood by Will Self - review by James Purdon

James Purdon

Roaming Holiday

Walking to Hollywood


Bloomsbury 448pp £17.99

Nobody walks to Hollywood: not any more. The last westward pedestrian may have been the Ohio journalist Charles Fletcher Lummis, who set out in the summer of 1884 and arrived at the Pacific five months later, his feat having impressed Angelinos so much that they made him City Editor of the LA Times. There had never been a city editor before. There had hardly been a city: modern Los Angeles was made and broken by film. ‘She’s been betrayed by the movies,’ a detective tells Will Self in ‘Walking to Hollywood’, the first of three fictionalised accounts of the author’s wanderings that make up his new book. ‘They eyed her up, used her, then cut her up into so many pieces nobody can put her back together again – no one, that is, except you.’

Nobody walks in Hollywood, either: not in the studio lots, with their golf-buggy transit system, nor – as Self points out – on the screen. ‘Walking’, he writes, ‘is so much slower than film.’ Walking to Hollywood, or at least around it, will allow him to slip ‘outside

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