Vera

Carol Edgarian. Scribner, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-5752-3
Edgarian (Three Stages of Amazement) follows a teenage girl who comes of age in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in this visceral novel. Vera, 15, is the illegitimate daughter of Rose, a brothel madam who made a name for herself as a “much-favored prostitute” among gold miners. Raised by a foster mother, Vera longs to be independent like Rose, while her foster sister, Pie wants only to marry a local shopkeeper. Their plans change when an earthquake devastates the city. Vera and Pie seek shelter at Rose’s house, which is still standing but Rose is gone. The two girls form an odd community of sorts with Tan, Rose’s Chinese butler; Tan’s family; several of Rose’s girls; and a psychiatrist neighbor. While Tan sets up a makeshift outdoor kitchen to feed the city’s dispossessed, Vera scours San Francisco for her mother. Slowly, the city begins to rebuild itself around them. Despite some anachronistic word choices, the author paints a vivid portrait of a metropolis teeming with sex workers, immigrants, corrupt politicians, and artists, and it’s fun to follow two strong young characters with very different views on life. The result makes for a stirring testament to a resilient city that never knew the meaning of the word quit. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, WME. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/14/2020
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1896-3
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