DROP CITY -- what happens when a 1970's California hippie commune moves north to Alaska and collides with the locals
Drop City by T. C. Boyle (2004, Penguin Books; 512 pages)
For those in search of some hippie nostalgia -- now that marijuana is legal in Alaska and we can call ourselves "the officially recognized new hippies" -- I would recommend reading Drop City, a book by T.C. Boyle with exceptional characters, a master dialogue technique and a very interesting premise: the author brings some California hippies north where they have to endure the endless winter of the Alaskan wilderness.
We have this book in our Alaskana collection, and when you read it you will understand why.
In his BookPage review, Bruce Tierney describes the book: "Drop City begins in a Sonoma commune of the same name, circa 1970. It would be a comparatively simple task to write a book about the culture clash between the normal folks and the hippies, or even a Cyra McFadden-style send-up about life on a commune, but T.C. Boyle has never been one for taking the easy road. Rather, Drop City is a tale of a utopian community riven from within by many of the problems that have plagued "straight" society for ages: drugs, sexism, racism and jealousy.
Meanwhile, in remote Boynton, Alaska, a union takes place between a hermit-like fur trapper and a mail-order bride. The wedding goes superbly (one is tempted to say 'without a hitch') until late in the day, when it is crashed by the sworn enemy of the groom, the only person in Boynton who was not invited to the ceremony. Hijinks ensue, and the upshot of the skirmish leaves a team of sled dogs dead, and a pristine 1965 Shelby Mustang GT-350 coupe submerged in the cold deep waters of Birch Creek.
Back in California, the law is breathing down the necks of Drop City's resident revelers. A dead horse, a hit-and-run car accident, and several issues with the building codes department have conspired to draw the utopian experiment to a close. It is time to move on, but where to? You guessed it: Boynton, Alaska, to establish Drop City North. A weedy caravan of vehicles (a dusty Lincoln, a rusty Studebaker, and an elderly school bus) gingerly makes its way across the Canadian border, up the Alaska Highway. It will be a clash of a different sort, as the welfare/food-stamp/peace/love/dope crowd comes into contact with perhaps the most fiercely self-sufficient people the country has ever known."
As I read somewhere: "For best effect, read Drop City in a beanbag chair. A drop or two of patchouli oil and Janis (Joplin) on the stereo couldn't hurt, either."
Find this title in our catalog: Drop City
Recommended by: Maite