Most who have read his previous novel, Atomik Aztex, would probably agree that its author, Sesshu Foster, an inter-culturalist if there ever was one, must surely rank amongst the more adventurous, some might say outlandish, novelists at work today. As narratively elusive as he is geographically centered, Foster's writing is hard to pin down, though what one can definitely say he’s as invested in the present as he is in the past and future. His sentences, like pesky promiscuous electrons, jump from subject to subject, era to era, and, when it comes to montage, scene to scene. At the same time, he remains focused, in spirit if not in actuality, on his home turf of East Los Angeles. In ELADATL, published by City Lights, it’s Alhambra accompanied by forays into Lincoln Heights and points beyond. At the same time, Foster treats his particular locale pretty much as the center of the universe, like a macrocosmic version of the way S. Dalí thinks about Perpignan train station. Though Foster’s title might stand for East Los Angeles Dirgirble Air Transport Line, the phonetic implication is that the company has connections Nahuatl in origin, perhaps to the extent that it even now is creating enough oxygen to enable hot-air lift-off. What emerges is an alternative history dancing from the distant past, to the present, with its images derived from popular culture, into the future; in other words, a radical revision of the world, based upon, but no crazier than, the world we presently inhabit.
“It all starts on Bunker HIll. Some people say we emerged from the 22nd Street tunnel to the stairs, ascending Angel’s Flight to the top of the hill, a bunch of us with Elote Girl with cornsilk in her long dusty hair and her sack of corn that she sells steaming with mayonnaise on the street corner. That’s not really true... not in the literal sense (what is?), that’s pure reductionism, but that’s what I’m going with because, because- anyway, yeah- we need a simple gesture at the beginning- especially for things that seem to have no beginning or end.”