A collection of bold stories set in downtown Los Angeles that examine large issues like love, class, and race, and how they influence and define our most intimate moments.
With deep insight into character, intimate relationships, and the modern search for personal freedom, In the Not Quite Dark
is powerful collection of stories that feels both urgent and timeless from Dana Johnson, the author of the prize-winning collection Break Any Woman Down
In "The Liberace Museum," a mixed–race couple leave the South toward the destination of Vegas, crossing miles of road and history to the promised land of consumption; in "Rogues," a young man on break from college lands in his brother's Inland Empire neighborhood during a rash of unexplained robberies; in "She Deserves Everything She Gets," a woman listens to the strict advice given to her spoiled niece about going away to college, reflecting on her own experience and the night she lost her best friend; and in the collection's title story, a man setting down roots in downtown L.A. is haunted by the specter of both gentrification and a young female tourist, whose body was found in the water tower of a neighboring building.
We first met Avery in two of the stories featured in Dana Johnson's awardwinning collection Break Any Woman Down. As a young girl, she and her family escape the violent streets of Los Angeles to a more gentrified existence in suburban West Covina. This average life, filled with school, trips to 7Eleven to gawk at Tiger Beat magazine, and family outings to Dodger Stadium, is soon interrupted by a past she cannot escape, personified in the guise of her violent cousin Keith.
When Keith moves in with her family, he triggers a series of events that will follow Avery throughout her life: to her studies at USC, to her burgeoning career as a painter and artist, and into her relationship with a wealthy Italian who sequesters her in his glasswalled house in the Hollywood Hills. The past will intrude upon Avery's first gallery show, proving her mother's adage: Every goodbye aint gone. The dualnarrative of Elsewhere, California illustrates the complicated history of African Americans across the rolling basin of Los Angeles.