By Ashton Politanoff
Publication Date: 9/6/2022
You'll Like it Here is a haunting bricolage, divided into three parts, that excavates the forgotten history of Redondo Beach in the early 1900’s through old news clippings, advertisements, recipes and other ephemera that speak to the ills of male stoicism, industrialization and capitalism, and environmental displacement. Ashton used digital archives from the Redondo Reflex and other city adjacent newspapers as the basis for his surrealist account, masterfully tracing this larger shift away from coastal maritime repose in the wake of the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, and World War II through momentary fragments that feel as real and palpable as they do transient, mythological, and strangely reminiscent of our current times.
Formally, You'll Like it Here works in conversation with Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, Amina Cain’s Indelicacy, and Kathryn Scanlan’s Aug 9 Fog. The novel also embraces a multi-register, journalistic storytelling that questions the tenuous line between objectivity and subjectivity in documenting the unreliability of history—both personal and collective—brilliantly balancing voids of loss, absence, and disappearance with moments of natural transcendence and miraculous phenomena.
Ashton Politanoff’s writing has appeared frequently in NOON, as well as New York Tyrant, Conjunctions, Egress, and other print and digital journals. Several of his stories have been anthologized, and he is a full-time English Instructor at Cypress College.