Winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, this "rich collection" of linked stories "demands to be read and reread" (San Francisco Chronicle).
Nestled among the palm trees and pig farms of Southern California, the sleepy city of Rio Seco might be confused for an abandoned backlot to the nearby glitz of Hollywood. But it's home to a vibrant community of African Americans, young and old, following their dreams as they struggle to make ends meet.
A young man fights to nurture his artistic calling, even as his family teases him for his "sissy hands." His elderly aunt must find a new home as developers push to alter the city's landscape. A young boy tries to escape the same fate as his crack-addicted brother. And a humiliated, indignant young woman must contend with her husband's latest girlfriend. These and other stories weave together the lives of a timeless community with moments of beauty, defeat, and grace.
"A writer whose love for her characters infuses her work,"Susan Straight's award-winning debut remains a relevant testament to lives too often pushed aside (The New York Times Book Review). In the praise of Joyce Carol Oates, "there is no new, emerging voice of the past decade more exciting, more surprising, and more richly and subtly human than [Straight]."