Claire Vaye Watkins, award-winning author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, reads with Joseph Scapalatto, author of Big Lonesome.
About Gold Fame Citrus:
named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Vanity Fair, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Lit Hub, BookPage and Kirkus Reviews
In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins story collection, Battleborn, swept nearly every award for short fiction. Now this young writer, widely heralded as a once-in-a-generation talent, returns with a first novel that harnesses the sweeping vision and deep heart that made her debut so arresting to a love story set in a devastatingly imagined near future:
Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most Mojavs, prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs--Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the forever war turned surfer--squat in a starlet's abandoned mansion. They subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.
The couple's fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. Watkins' novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.
Claire Vaye Watkins is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Writer (2012) and author of Battleborn, winner of the Story Prize and named a Best Book of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Time Out New York, and Flavorwire, and a Best Short Story Collection by NPR.org. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Nevada-Reno and the Ohio State University, Watkins is assistant professor at Bucknell University. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.
About Big Lonesome:
Reinventing a great American tradition through an absurdist, discerning eye, Joseph Scapellato uses these twenty-five stories to conjure worlds, themes, and characters who are at once unquestionably familiar and undeniably strange. Big Lonesome navigates through the American West from the Old West to the modern-day West to the Midwest, from cowboys to mythical creatures to everything in between exploring place, myth, masculinity, and what it means to be whole or to be broken.
"If this is what the future sounds like, we have something to celebrate, after all. Joseph Scapellato's Big Lonesome is quick and sharp and funny and unlike anything else you've ever read."--Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown, Mystery Ride, Crooked Hearts, & The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
"Joseph Scapellato's Big Lonesome is an accomplished debut, a collection of tall tales and campfire stories that create a Wild West unlike any other. With a voice like Barry Hannah channeling Larry McMurtry, Scapellato has updated the cowboy, one of the great American protagonists, into a newly complex, audacious, and utterly contemporary character."--Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods
Joseph Scapellato is a visiting assistant professor of English at Bucknell University. His fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Post Road, and Puerto Del Sol, among other journals, and has been anthologized in Harper Perennial's Forty Stories, Gigantic Books Gigantic Worlds: An Anthology of Science Flash Fiction and & NOW's forthcoming The Best Innovative Writing anthology. He holds an MFA from New Mexico State University.