(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; > 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