“Rifkin’s characters are ruined, desperate creatures, comic and soulful, perpetually in line for a ladle full of redemption.” —Hammer Museum
“Rifkin is what might have happened had Nathanael West lived on and been even more talented . . . . Exquisite.” —Kirkus Reviews
Alan Rifkin's Signal Hill by Roberta Johnson
"Rifkin combs L.A and environs for characters usually omitted from the national consciousness: neither drug dealers nor movie moguls, though lit by reflections from the glossy industry surrounding them.
In "The Honor System," the ambivalent heir of a custom pool business has a series of encounters at Death Valley with an appealing woman "fleeing Studio City in a divorcee trance," who, confounded by a 50-cent charge and the lone $10 bill in her hand, backs into the narrator in the first tentative step to friendship.
In "After the Divorce," an Encino teenager walks out one afternoon, intending to appear unannounced at his father's elegant home; en route he considers possible responses, but the pivotal moments occur when his father drives him home and talks with his mother.
In "Signal Hill," trim sentences beautifully set the scene, but the divorced protagonist with an eye for the 25-year-olds at the gym is much less engaging. Well, the book still contains some gems, among them a clear, polished voice for L.A. County."