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Following her prize-winning collection Break Any Woman Down, Dana Johnson returns with a collection of bold stories set mostly in downtown Los Angeles that examine large issues love, class, race and how they influence and define our most intimate moments. 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.
With deep insight into character, intimate relationships, and the modern search for personal freedom, In the Not Quite Dark is powerful new work that feels both urgent and timeless.
Dana Johnson is the author of Break Any Woman Down, Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California. Learn more at danajohnsonauthor.com.