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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Life on Mars: Gangsters, Runaways, Exi/Stuart, Alexan/Paper/0385405782/S054-A2
Is Florida, as most people imagine, simply the home of vice, violence and Mickey Mouse - Paradise with a lobotomy - or might it also be a spiritual place? Is Miami, with its Spanish-speaking neighbourhoods, its trendy Deco beach scene, its heat, dust and drag queens, even truly a part of America - or is it more suited to Mars? Where else can you swim with sharks, talk with a mermaid, watch the Space Shuttle burn a trail across the sky, go surfing during a hurricane and take a drive with a billionaire in search of the Celestial Railway? Alexander Stuart, author of the controversial novel 'The War Zone', left Brighton for Miami five years ago to rebuild his life after the death of his son from cancer. What he found when he got there was a land of transformation: a place where people come to reinvent their lives, to escape from the past, or themselves, or reality. Stuart's witty, galvanizing new book explores the eccentric extremes of Florida - with a sidelong glance at its bolshy island neighbour, Cuba. and through his slightly skewed, off-beat portrait of Florida now, a mesmerizing picture emerges of where the rest of the world may be headed.