If you were standing behind 78-year-old Harriet Chance in the supermarket checkout line as she dug in her purse for her coupons, you would sigh and roll your eyes. But Jonathan Evison is here to assure you that this most ordinary of old ladies isn’t what you think. She may keep her hairdo and flower beds tidy, and address everyone as “dear,” but don’t be fooled by her chipper demeanor.
On a June afternoon in 1982, Joan Didion strolled through San Salvador’s Metrocenter Mall in search of water-purification tablets. The complex billed itself as “Central America’s Largest Shopping Mall,” and Didion took note of all its bourgeois trappings: designer blue jeans, foie gras, bar carts, expensive vodka. Outside, a three-year-old civil war seethed.