The Orange Karen Tei Yamashita, For Karen Tei Yamashita, 40, "The Orange" is an experiment: " 'The Orange,' a children's fable, is a seed for a work that I hope may become an adult novel." Yamashita, a Japanese-American who lived and studied in Brazil for nine years, has conceived and written performance-art pieces for the Japanese-American Museum and the Taper, Too in Los Angeles and is currently at work on "Burajiru," a novel about Japanese immigration to Brazil to be published next fall by Coffee House Press. Her first novel, "Through the Arc of the Rain Forest," published last year, won the 1991 American Book Award for fiction.
Miss Clairol Helena Maria Viramontes, For her fiction, Helena Maria Viramontes, 37, pulls from an East Los Angeles childhood rich with barrio characters. "These are people I have known all my life," she says of the mother and daughter in "Miss Clairol," "but who are virtually unheard of in the literary world." The story originally appeared in "Chicana Creativity and Criticism" and is part of her second collection of short stories, "Paris Rats in East L.A.," to be published next year by Arte Publico Press. Viramontes lives in Irvine and recently finished adapting for the screen another short story, "Candystripers." She is currently at work on her first novel.
Right-Hand Man Laura Kalpakian, Most of Laura Kalpakian's stories, including "Right-Hand Man," take place in St. Elmo County, a fictitious southeastern California desert community. Two of her collections, "Dark Continent," published by Penguin, and "Fair Augusto," by Graywolf Press, are based predominantly in St. Elmo, as is her new novel, "Graceland," due out next spring from Grove Weidenfeld. "It's not an interesting place at all," she says. "You long to escape from it, and once you do, you keep going back." St. Elmo has become an imaginary second home to Kalpakian, 42, who spent her early years in San Bernardino County. She now lives in Washington. "Right-Hand Man" is set in January, 1919.
Icons Margery L. Schwartz
\f7, Edited by Mary McNamara
Crusader Rabbit Jess Mowry, Jess Mowry, an eighth-grade dropout, grew up in Oakland--"picking up cans, living on the streets, doing things I'd sooner forget." He began writing stories in 1988, and his first collection, which won the PEN West/Josephine Miles Award for new fiction, was published in 1990. Mowry, 31, still lives in Oakland, where he now provides shelter for "six or seven homeless kids." "They come and go," he says. "I give them a spot to orbit around." Some of them, like the character Jeremy in "Crusader Rabbit," also inspire Mowry's stories. Next year, Farrar, Straus & Giroux will publish "Way Past Cool," Mowry's second novel. "Crusader Rabbit" first appeared in Zyzzyva, a San Francisco literary magazine
Jerry Carolyn See, "Jerry" is excerpted from "Making History," Carolyn See's fifth novel, which will be published in September by Houghton-Mifflin. See says she intends Jerry, one of the novel's three main male characters, to be a hero. "His way of doing good in the world is by going toward action instead of coping with his own life," she says. Known for her "cool and Californian" perspective, See, 57, teaches English at UCLA and received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete "Making History." With her longtime companion John Espey and her daughter Lisa See Kendall, she writes historical sagas under the pseudonym Monica Highland. Born in Pasadena, See now lives in Topanga.
Proper Care And Maintenance Susan Straight, Susan Straight introduced Darnell, and the other characters who populate "Proper Care and Maintenance," in her first book, "Aquaboogie," a novel in stories published last fall by Milkweed Editions. "Darnell, she says, "is my favorite character, because he doesn't give up, doesn't give in." Straight, 30, grew up in Riverside, graduated from USC, earned a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then returned to her old San Bernardino County neighborhood, which she calls "a talking place, not a reading place, so nobody really understands what I do," She has just completed her latest work, a novel called "Living Large."
SDG&E's Tom Page Looks at Future Greg Johnson and Leonard Bernstein, Times staff writers. On May 8, after 2 1/2 years of applications and public hearings, the California Public Utilities Commission turned down a request by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to merge. Now, SDG&E is planning for San Diego's energy needs as an independent utility. Times staff writers Greg Johnson and Leonard Bernstein interviewed SDG&E Chairman Tom Page about the utility's plans
Another Poet Writes About Love ELOISE KLEIN HEALY, From "Artemis in Echo Park" by Eloise Klein Healy (Firebrand Books, Ithaca, N.Y. 14850: $8.95). 1991 by Eloise Klein Healy. Reprinted with permission.
BOOK MARK : Americans Ask Much of Politics, Then Hate the Results E.J. Dionne Jr., E.J. Dionne Jr. is a reporter for the Washington Post. Voters see little in the choices offered by either the '60s left or the '80s right that truly reflect their concerns, the author writes. He offers prescriptions for a less divisive politics in the '90s. An excerpt