Michelle Latiolais. Norton, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-393-28505-5
It’s 2013, and on the eve of her 15th birthday, a young, nameless girl runs away from her sheltered family home in Needles, Ca., to take refuge in Los Angeles. She is trying to escape her violent religious upbringing, and though she knows nobody when she arrives in LA, she soon encounters a series of interesting characters—a gallery owner, an old man looking for company, and a homeless woman lugging a suitcase full of books, to name a few—as she tries to find a place to sleep for the night. Author Latiolais (Widow) breaks up this main narrative by inserting a series of independent short stories, also revolving around other (mostly) nameless female protagonists. Despite their various conflicts, these women—a ballerina sitting at her engagement party, a botanist turned cake decorator listening to a friend’s marital suspicions, a niece waiting to hear news of her elderly aunt’s cancer surgery—share emotional discomfort with Latiolais’s runaway, and the author finds ways to weave some of their smaller stories into the collection’s main story. Overall, this is a volume in which characters stall their own forward propulsion with unending ruminations. Though some stories, like the sharp “Promotion,” succeed, others feel lost in an overabundance of tangential prose. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-393-35416-4
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-393-28506-2
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