Saturday, March 07, 2009

Pg. 99: Chris Ayres' "Death by Leisure"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale by Chris Ayres.

About the book, from the publisher:
The intrepid young author of War Reporting for Cowards (“Hilarious” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times) returns from his stint as a war correspondent only to dive headfirst into another absurd, terrifying world: the American leisure economy.

For Chris Ayres, the young British journalist whose first book, War Reporting for Cowards, was celebrated as “gripping” (People), “blushingly honest” (Los Angeles Times), and “hysterically funny” (CNN), life as a Hollywood correspondent is no celebrity junket. It’s a full-immersion gonzo experiment. After returning to Los Angeles from his undignified experience as an embedded journalist in Iraq—he lasted all of nine days—Ayres decides to trade the front lines of war for the front lines of the extreme leisure economy. Like Hunter Thompson crossed with one of David Brooks’s bobos in paradise, Ayres embeds himself in L.A.’s “leisuretocracy”: an over-the-top-everything world of caviar facials, billionaire charity balls, souped-up SUVs, and sketchy home loans ... not to mention $1,000-a-night brothels and dates with supermodels. But as the cost of Ayres’s lifestyle escalates—he officially becomes a “reverse millionaire”— a series of environmental and economic disasters begins to unfold around him. By the time he decides to change his ways, he fears it could already be too late. Told with the same blend of offbeat irreverence, genuine pathos, and incisive social commentary as War Reporting for Cowards, Ayres’s Death by Leisure is a savage and darkly humorous odyssey that taps directly into the contemporary psyche.
Learn more about the book and author at Chris Ayres' website.

Ayres joined The Times (London) in 1997 and has since been posted in New York, Los Angeles, and Iraq. The latter stint inspired his first book, War Reporting for Cowards. He now writes from Los Angeles for The Times while contributing occasional columns to the Los Angeles Times. His work has also recently appeared in Forbes, Conde Nast Traveller, and Playboy.

The Page 99 Test: Death by Leisure.

--Marshal Zeringue