Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini
A Novel

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“Things That Happened Before the Earthquake” is a stunning piece of work, an exquisitely detailed look at one girl’s efforts to embrace, adapt to and engage with an altogether new culture. Her successes and failures in doing so make for a story that is alternatingly sweet and sharp as she searches for her place in this strange new land.
-The Maine Edge

Synopsis

Welcome to LA? Nineties' Hollywood gets an Italian makeover in this poignant and ruefully funny coming-of-age novel featuring a teenage girl who's on shaky ground—in more ways than one.

Mere weeks after the 1992 riots that laid waste to Los Angeles, Eugenia, a typical Italian teenager, is rudely yanked from her privileged Roman milieu by her hippie-ish filmmaker parents and transplanted to the strange suburban world of the San Fernando Valley. With only the Virgin Mary to call on for guidance as her parents struggle to make it big, Hollywood fashion, she must navigate her huge new public high school, complete with Crips and Bloods and Persian gang members, and a car-based environment of 99-cent stores and obscure fast-food franchises and all-night raves. She forges friendships with Henry, who runs his mother's movie memorabilia store, and the bewitching Deva, who introduces her to the alternate cultural universe that is Topanga Canyon. And then the 1994 earthquake rocks the foundations not only of Eugenia's home but of the future she'd been imagining for herself.
 

About Chiara Barzini

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CHIARA BARZINI is an Italian screen and fiction writer. She has lived and studied in the United States, working as a correspondent for Vanity Fair, GQ, Flair, XL Repubblica, and Marie Claire, while publishing essays in American magazines such as The Village Voice, Harper’s, Vogue, Interview magazine, Vice, and Rolling Stone. Her fiction has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Coffin Factory, Noon, The NY Tyrant, Vice, and Dazed & Confused. She was a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction in 2014. Her most recent film, Arianna, the coming-of-age story of an intersex adolescent, was critically acclaimed at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. She is the author of the short story collection Sister Stop Breathing (Calamari Press, 2012). She currently lives in Rome with her husband and children.
Author Residence: Rome, Italy
Author Hometown: Rome, Italy
 
Published August 15, 2017 by Doubleday. 322 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Aug 23 2017

“Things That Happened Before the Earthquake” is a stunning piece of work, an exquisitely detailed look at one girl’s efforts to embrace, adapt to and engage with an altogether new culture. Her successes and failures in doing so make for a story that is alternatingly sweet and sharp as she searches for her place in this strange new land.

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