'Meet Me by the Fountain' Review: Enclosed Encounters – The Wall Street Journal

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Ah, the mall. Where teens mooch away afternoons savoring their content-free existence. Where old folks exercise-walk at a tortoise-like pace, and shoppers struggle, in vain, to resist the blandishments of tables piled high with discounted sweaters. It is hard to imagine a less-promising subject of inquiry than the shopping mall, through which one moves, as Joan Didion once wrote, “in an aqueous suspension not only of light but of judgment.”
The architecture and design writer Alexandra Lange agrees. In her introduction to “Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall,” she considers the all-too-familiar retail and “lifestyle centers” to be “ubiquitous and underexamined and potentially a little bit embarrassing as the object of serious study.” She then proceeds to examine them, thoroughly, seriously and in an engaging fashion.
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This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit http://www.djreprints.com.

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