Set in and around Hollywood Forever Cemetery, I Miss The World traces a century at the fringes of LA's myth-making machine. A photographer captures a high-rise suicide, a widow burns priceless furniture to hide her shame, a reunion between siblings yields an unspeakable horror, a husband's infidelities lead inexorably toward cruelty . . . This tense and mind-bending noir is Violet LeVoit at her finest: an unnerving, unpredictable and comic exploration of deep trauma and glitzy nostalgic insanity.
One shouldn't play favorites, but I am going to. This is my favorite book in the StoryBundle. Read it last, as you will need plenty of time to decompress and think about your life after this. It's Hollywood, and broken marriages, and all the usual building blocks of noir, and then it does something with them that you'll never expect, and never forget. – Nick Mamatas
"LeVoit's work exists at the center of a glowing nexus where fever dream punk rock poetry collides with raw emotion and vertiginous talent."– Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Entropy In Bloom and Skullcrack City
"Revelatory, gut-punching, brilliantly anarchic perfection."– J David Osborne, author of Black Gum
"A crushing journey into the beauty and horror of nostalgia."– LitReactor
"A brisk, fascinating read that feels more like a ride, a darkly humorous noir ride along razor-sharp trains of thought about aesthetic obsession, nostalgia, trauma, depression, and revenge. And before you know it, the tale is over, leaving you feeling like you just got the wind knocked out of you by a relentless series of ideas and revelations that'll haunt you for days."– Haute Macabre
January 22, 2014 5:46 PM
The naked woman teeters like a needle on the lip of the high rise roof of the surgical center. Beverly Hills rush hour sun glints hot light on everything shiny—cars, glass facades, her carrot-tan skin. The incision grins under her breasts are still weeping.
Traffic slows below to rubbernecker taffy. Who is she? Some pull over, grab their phones. 4x digital zoom divulges a corona of corn floss hair whipping in high wind, a dulce de leche shadow on the pubis. Natural blonde, unnatural everything else. Her high-breasted nakedness is made from the same proud stuff as the maidens carved on ship's prows.
Something flimsy catches a gust, wafts down to the street with jellyfish grace: her surgical gown.
She inches to the corner on precise and delirious tiptoes.
One person in the crowd has a better camera and can see the whole truth in the zoom: pioneer woman cheekbones homesteaded with polyethylene implants, pupils pinprick, mouth lax and fearless. Eyes shining with god-knows-what, breathe-deep-and-count-backwards-from-twenty-you'll-wake-up-a-new-you. The woman watching with the camera knows all about how the crazy quilt of the sprawl spread below can burn the retinas, how you need psychic eclipse slits to gaze sanely upon the mouth of LA's void, you'll just go batshit in the synapse where truth and non-truth meet, mix, fornicate, swap underthings, exit onto the street in each other's disguise.
The woman on the roof sees that truth. The woman with the camera can see that she can see it. She pulls over on Rodeo to get a better vantage, steadies her shot enough to see the woman on the roof mouth astonished syllables. No one below can read lips.
It's impossible to tell what starts first: the woman veering too far un-vertical or the choir of crescendoed shouts aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAOHHHHHHHH that swells from the crowd below, the assembled Los Angeles Morbid Spectator's Tabernacle Choir in sudden and unanimous performance as she tips into the ether and the woman with the camera punches the gas and tears out of the rubbernecker clot in her growling Miata and leaps the palm-treed grassy median, the devil strip, holds her camera out the driver's side window like a periscope, finger hard on the shutter with rigor mortis obstinance: I will see you—