Mike Davis, ‘City of Quartz’ author who chronicled the forces that shaped L.A., dies at 84
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Mike Davis, who chronicled the forces that shaped Los Angeles in his book City of Quartz, has died. He was 84, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the book, Davis wrote that the city was born amid seismic tremors in 1906 and moved to a new orbit after the earthquake. He noted the L.A. basin was created when the basin was shaped by fault lines.
Davis, an L.A. native, was the author of more than 20 books, including The L.A. River, which was adapted into a film and book adaptation. He also wrote the story that was the basis for the 2007 film, “City of Ghosts,” which he co-wrote.
A native of St. Louis, Davis relocated to L.A. with his family as a teenager in 1947 and became a naturalized citizen. He attended USC and earned his master’s degree at UCLA.
“In Los Angeles, it was always a struggle to be an outsider. I remember thinking that if I were still in St. Louis, I’d be the mayor,” Davis told The Times in 2013.
While he was in L.A. for several years as a journalist, Davis took up writing a novel that became City of Quartz and was published in 2008.
“I couldn’t find the time to devote to writing,” he told NPR in October. “I found that in journalism, you’re always on the road or you’re out of town. It was a way to write outside the day-to-day.”
Davis had been writing for the Los Angeles Times for 11 years, when he penned City of Quartz in his spare time. He had just finished another novel, but had no plans to write another book. Davis wrote the book in his room, “with pencils and paper and a typewriter.”
“When I was a kid, as an immigrant, I said I’d like to become a writer, and I got my wish,” Davis wrote.
In the book, Davis made his case that Los Angeles was born of the fault lines of the fault lines.