I came across this novel in Goodreads. I followed with interest the author's reviews of other works and his blog and I must admit I loved the title. It had been on my `to read' list for a while, and I'm pleased to say that I finally found the time to read it and I'm very pleased I did.
Lost Angeles reads like a memoir, but not your standard memoir (if there is such a thing). The book follows the protagonist, Doug, a young and articulate man from Belfast, and his travels/adventures in Los Angeles. Doug is not in Los Angeles to see the sights, although the does see many sights (some that none of us would wish to see). From the beginning you realise that he's there with a mission. You don't come to realise quite how determined he is to self-destruct until much later in the book. He drinks, takes drugs, engages in casual sex, and drifts from cheap accommodation to even cheaper digs (including the `Lost Angeles' of the title that used to be a place for sex for sale) all the time meeting real people. Some idiots, some nice but misguided, some lost and looking, some also drifters.
The reasons for Doug's trip are slowly revealed through interspersed chapters about his life back home (I'm a bit reluctant to call them flashbacks. They're memories, but too long, detailed and elaborate to be what's more generally understood as flashback). You quickly realise that he's mourning the end of what seems to have been his most significant relationship, but later you realise that there is more to it than that, and come to care and empathise with Doug even more. Because if there's something notable about the novel is that despite behaviour that many of us would neither approve of, not adhere to, we like Doug. He might drive us insane if we met him but...whilst embarked on his self-destructive path he tries his hardest to help others and to do no harm. By the end you're rooting for him and hope that against all odds things will work out for him.
A very personal novel, I truly enjoyed Lost Angeles. This is a novel for adults and I'd recommend it to anybody who wants to read about real people coping with life, as best they can. I look forward to many more books by Mr Louden.