San Diego has a storied history, one that Joe Blake can’t escape. The largely apathetic protagonist of Jim Miller’s first novel is an underemployed professor who meanders through his uneventful life. Blake’s only pleasure lies in the past—the history of the buildings he passes and the studies he teaches. However, as the architecture’s tales are forgotten, and his jobs run out, Blake must begin a search for a future that holds a slice of the past he idealizes so much. Miller doesn’t explore any concepts that haven’t already been worked over in the literary world, but the endless descriptions of San Diego make the novel an interesting read. The meticulous attention to the city forces readers to question the history of their own towns, cities and nations. That’s a question worth answering.