The Los Angeles Review of Books has just posted a long, thoughtful and fair consideration of Unreal Estate. Even though it’s not entirely positive, it is the kind of review most writers hope to receive now and then, but do all too rarely, especially nowadays when ever-fewer media outlets do that job. The site, which is currently in preview mode, clearly deserves attention and support. And I say that not only because it says, “Gross isn’t selling us a bill of goods; he’s just asking us to enlist him as our trusted cicerone, to let him guide us through the neighborhood, even if he, admittedly, has never gained access to many of these properties. A tour most assuredly of his own design, it has plenty of melodrama and a cast of characters that, in number and complexity, is positively Dickensian…..It’s enticing to have an East Coast ‘outsider’ like Gross set his sights on Los Angeles; sometimes it takes an interloper’s objectivity to refocus our lens, much like British-born Reyner Banham did when he identified the city’s four ecologies, or Roman Polanski with the film Chinatown, or Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One…..His narrative employs each estate as a mere touchstone for spinning the yarns of its owners. He reminds me of John Cheever’s ‘The Swimmer,’ whose goal is to traverse his upscale neighborhood pool by pool.” Nice company!