(1962- ) US writer and journalist whose first appearance in print was Weetzie Bat (1989), a short YA novel; in the same sequence are Witch Baby (1991), Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys (1992), Missing Angel Juan (1993) and Baby Be-Bop (1995). The lives of a very odd extended family as its various members struggle with adolescence are told in a slangy, highly contemporary style and based in the multicultural street life of Los Angeles, striking a note of wonder which may merit the tag Magic Realism. Ecstasia (1993) and Primavera (1994) form a two-book sequence which is more conventional. Set in a possibly post-Apocalypse desert landscape, where there is only one City, it describes a rock'n'roll-dominated society where those who grow old must leave the city and go to the Underworld. Ecstasia retells the Orpheus myth (with points of resemblance to Samuel R Delany's The Einstein Intersection ), while Primavera follows the myth of Persephone.
The Hanged Man (1995), again set in contemporary California, describes a teenager's attempts to deal with real life: her father is dead, her mother may be a Witch, the wild boy she falls in with may be a Vampire; the work is less surreal than FLB's earlier work and the fantasy elements can be interpreted as drug Hallucinations or fugues of insanity (see Rationalized Fantasy). The style is crisper and more pointed than before, and focuses tightly on the principle of a Tarot layout. It may be FLB's most fully realized work. [DK]
Francesca Lia Block