First published in 1971, The Goodby People is perhaps the greatest novel ever written about post-Manson, pre-Disney Los Angeles. “His elegant, stripped-down prose caught the last gasp of Old Hollywood in a way that has yet to be rivalled.” (Armistead Maupin)
“The bisexual draft dodger living on the skids, the glamorous young widow in search of enlightenment, the skinny gamine from out of town who wants to make it in the movies . . .”* These are the people who inhabit Gavin Lambert’s mordant portrait of Southern California at the end of the 1960s: forever swapping addresses, lovers, and dreams. They live in extraordinary, suffocating wealth; or else flirting with a Mansonesque cult; or else in a fantasy where golden-age actresses make ghostly visitations to comment on their daily life. All that binds them together is their common sense of aimlessness–and the clear, judgment-free eye of a British author trying his best to be a friend to each.
Cool, incisive, yet essentially kind, and very much ahead of its time, The Goodby People unfolds “in the yawning chasm between real life in Los Angeles and the fantasies manufactured by its dominant business” (*Gary Indiana), and stands as Gavin Lambert’s masterpiece.