Join us on Monday, April 11 at 7pm PT when Susan Straight celebrates her latest novel, Mecca, with Vanessa Hua at 9th Ave!
Presented in Proud Partnership with Alta Journal
Masks or Proof of Vaccination Required for In-Person Attendance
Or register to watch online at the link below
Praise for Mecca
"A masterpiece." —Michael Connelly
"A heartbreaker from beginning to end." —Viet Thanh Nguyen
"Beautiful, richly layered and full of a California that feels uniquely itself." —Attica Locke
"A hymn to all that have called the Golden State home." —Walter Mosley
From the National Book Award finalist Susan Straight, a stunning epic tracing the intertwined lives of native Californians fighting for life and land.
Johnny Frias has California in his blood. A descendant of the state’s Indigenous people and Spanish settlers, he has Southern California’s forgotten towns and canyons in his soul. He spends his days working for the California Highway Patrol pulling over speeders, ignoring their racist insults, and pushing past the trauma of his rookie year, when he killed a man who was in the midst of assaulting a young woman named Bunny, who proceeded to run away. But like the Santa Ana winds, which every year bring risk of fire, Johnny’s moment of action twenty years ago sparks a slow-burning chain of connections that unites a vibrant, complex cast of characters in ways they never saw coming.
In Mecca, the celebrated novelist Susan Straight crafts an unforgettable American epic, examining race, history, family, and destiny through the interlocking stories of a group of native Californians all gasping for air. With sensitivity, furor, and a cinematic scope that captures California in all its injustice, history, and glory, she tells a story of the American West through the eyes of the people who built it—and continue to sustain it. As the stakes get higher and the intertwined characters in Mecca slam against barrier after barrier, we find that when push comes to shove, it’s always better to push back.
About Susan Straight
Susan Straight is the author of several novels, including the national bestseller Highwire Moon, a finalist for the National Book Award, and A Million Nightingales, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as the memoir In the Country of Women, named a best book of 2019 by NPR and Real Simple. She is the recipient of the Edgar Award for Best Short Story, the O. Henry Prize, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere. She was born and continues to live in Riverside, California, with her family, where she serves as a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.
About Vanessa Hua
Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the novel A River of Stars and a story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has also received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, among others. She has filed stories from China, Burma, South Korea, and elsewhere, and her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She has taught most recently at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
"A wide and deep view of a dynamic, multiethnic Southern California . . . Susan Straight is an essential voice in American writing and in writing of the West." —The New York Times Book Review
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