Elsewhere, California by Dana Johnson
A Novel

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...Avery's evolution — a black woman trying to claim her place — is as heartbreaking as it is humorous, powerful as it is poignant, because Johnson so assertively confronts those complexities.
-LA Times

Synopsis

We first met Avery in two of the stories featured in Dana Johnson’s award–winning 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 7–Eleven 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 glass–walled 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 dual–narrative of Elsewhere, California illustrates the complicated history of African Americans across the rolling basin of Los Angeles.
 

About Dana Johnson

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Dana Johnson is the author of Break Any Woman Down, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, California, she is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California.
 
Published June 1, 2012 by Counterpoint. 290 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Lynell George on Jun 10 2012

...Avery's evolution — a black woman trying to claim her place — is as heartbreaking as it is humorous, powerful as it is poignant, because Johnson so assertively confronts those complexities.

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