I read Exquisite Mariposa in spell-induced clips at the end of summer, as the austerity of autumn began to seep in — the perfect time to read a book about a quest for the Real in the age of Instagram. Having fled from New York, where she’d been hanging out with creative types who hail from “low-key dynasties,” Fiona Alison Duncan (or F.A.D.) — a name shared by the author and the narrator-protagonist — has recently moved to Los Angeles, the most dreamily lucent, if tricky, place to go in search of the Real, as nothing feels so actual as the filmic. Like her beloved L.A., this book is built in “pockets, bursts, and loops,” portaling the reader into its episodic musings on “God and other drugs.”


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