Few people know that 2006 is the 25th anniversary of the first pubication of "Lithium for Medea," Kate Braverman's glittering and riveting first novel. Setting her book in the many odd facets of the Los Angeles in which she grew up, a land of the disaffected and disenfranchised, she opens the city in a way that few writers have even attempted to do. She illustrates and paints it in its own dark spectrum of blues, from the undiminished powderpuff blue of its cloudless morning sky to the bruised indigo of its desperate nights. She fills it with alienated people doing irreversible damage to themselves and others. At the heart of her novel is a life-and-death struggle between a mother and daughter who are in many ways more similar than they even wish to be. The daughter expresses her bottomless depression and sense of alienation by sinking into a world of abusive relationships and destructive substances. This is not a book that speaks to everyone; only those who are capable of examining the darkest aspects of the world in which they live can open to and appreciate Braverman's perceptions, or even her prose, which has the faultless savagery and cadence of a well-wrought poem.
To celebrate its silver anniversary, "Lithium" has been republished with a reprint of the wonderful preface by writer and admirer Rick Moody. It's an underground monument to American life worth reading and owning, and Braverman is one of our most unique, most authentic authors.