Thursday, September 22nd at 7:00 p.m.
Michelle Latiolais, L.A.’s answer to Alice Munro, is celebrated for her bracing compassion devoid of sentimentality, and for writing powerfully precise prose. In She, her new collection of short-stories, a runaway girl’s journey in Los Angeles becomes the prism through which she refracts a multi-faceted panorama of the lives experienced in this very particular place and time. Come partake of Latiolais’ rare insight into our city’s life: reading, talk, q & a, signing to follow.
She follows a nameless fifteen-year-old as she flees her abusive father for Los Angeles in search of a new life. In this slyly crafted book, not all of the stories feature this young girl—Latiolais plunges deeply into the lives of Angelenos from all walks of life, allowing their stories to resonate with and amplify the young girl’s determined journey across the city’s unforgiving terrain. In one story, “Parking,” a penniless botanist makes her living by creating dazzling sugar flowers to decorate the cakes she herself can never afford; near the close of the book is the story “Promotion,” in which an author hands her book over to its reader, knowing it is no longer something she wrote; it now belongs to the imagination of others. Evocative and coolly brilliant, the stories in this collection together illuminate a poignant, unflinching portrait of loss and the search for identity in its wake.
Michelle Latiolais “is as close to Alice Munro as a writer can get, but with a more modern edge” —Los Angeles Times
“It’s been a long time since I’ve read a work that so captures the contradictions of Los Angeles, a seemingly beautiful and mild place that is so filled with ugliness and harshness, a city that people love to hate while they flock to it. The language, the structure, the conception of this book artfully paint the place and the people. I wish I could have written this, but I am neither as funny nor as smart as Michelle Latiolais.” —Percival Everett
Michelle Latiolais, the author of the short story collection Widow and the novels A Proper Knowledge and Even Now, is an English professor and co-director of the Programs in Writing at the University of California at Irvine.