La Medusa is a polyphonic novel of post-conceptual consciousness. At the heart of the whole floats Medusa, an androgynous central awareness that anchors the novel throughout. La Medusa is at once the city of Los Angeles, with its snaking freeways and serpentine shifts between reality and illusion, and a brain—a modern mind that is both expansive and penetrating in its obsessions and perceptions.
Vanessa Place’s characters—a trucker and his wife, a nine-year-old saxophonist, an ice cream vendor, a sex worker, and a corpse, among others—are borderless selves in a borderless city, a city impossible to contain. Her expert ventriloquism and explosive imagination anchor this epic narrative in language that is fierce and vibrant, a penetrating a cross-section of contemporary Los Angeles and a cross-section of the modern mind.
“La Medusa, Vanessa Place's monumental polyvalent, polyglot epic novel of Los Angeles, is like a shocking rock slide of polished stones of the first water, cut by a master jeweler, faceted into ten thousand-and-one sides--and the whole spill runs in relative slow motion with no drag, no yawns, all be-bop, hip-hop, Now. It is an epic silent, as long as Von Stroheim's Greed and every bit as powerful. But one thing is certain: no matter how good the picture may turn out to be, the book will definitely have been better.”
“Dazzling and daze-inducing, La Medusa returns us to the ambitious, difficult, and serious work of Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Stein, and Beckett. Like Joyce’s Ulysses, La Medusa is an investigation into the nature of experience. Los Angeles takes the role of Dublin. The brain and its double cortex generate the stylistic intricacies that the organs and senses do in Joyce. And above all, it is a female epic, in which the swirling city-universe is explored and shaped by the petrifying eye and intellect of the wily Medusa, her coiling locks extending everywhere.”
--Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm, KCRW Public Radio.