Dana Johnson: Elsewhere, California

Wednesday October 10, 2012
07:00 pm

Tags: Event


Part 2




Dana Johnson read from and discussed her debut novel, Elsewhere, California.


"A contemporary Bildungsroman with a wise and winning heroine at its heart." —T.C. Boyle

"Here is a character with an intensely engaging voice, surrounded by an equally riveting cast, all created by a writer who knows how to make words—and people—sparkle on the page." —Aimee Bender

"Dana Johnson’s Elsewhere, California is a clear-eyed jam on class, race, and love; sassy yet searing.” —Oscar Hijuelos


About Elsewhere, California:

As a young girl, Avery 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.


Dana Johnson's recent debut novel, Elsewhere, California, has been praised in the Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews. Her short story collection, Break Any Woman Down, 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. For more info, visit