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Susan Straight

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April 13, 2014 | By Annalise Mantz
For Susan Straight and Lisa See, their novels are not just their stories. Both authors use their books to tell the stories of the invisible. In a conversation with Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison on Saturday afternoon at the Festival of Books, the authors discussed their characters' place in history as well as their own. See's most recent book, “China Dolls,” tells the story of Chinese American nightclub performers “going out...
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 13, 2014 | By Annalise Mantz
For Susan Straight and Lisa See, their novels are not just their stories. Both authors use their books to tell the stories of the invisible. In a conversation with Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison on Saturday afternoon at the Festival of Books, the authors discussed their characters' place in history as well as their own. See's most recent book, “China Dolls,” tells the story of Chinese American nightclub performers “going out...
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NEWS
December 1, 1994 | LYNELL GEORGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The wind's up. The hot air feels dry enough to snap--as brittle as a twig. Signs most Southern Californians know how to read all too well. Time to scan the skies, the scrubby hills gone blond. Water the roof instead of the lawn. The opening pages of Susan Straight's latest novel, "Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights" (Hyperion, 1994), pause on the last anxious hours of Southern California's fire season and protagonist Darnell Tucker's jumble of worries.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Hector Tobar
Krista Bremer's cross-cultural journey began on a North Carolina jogging path, where the one-time California surfer girl met a scientist from Libya who romanced her and swept her away. Bremer, one of the authors at this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, chronicled that experience in a memoir titled "My Accidental Jihad. " The "accident" refers to an unexpected pregnancy; "jihad" (Arabic for "effort" or "struggle") is her way of describing the "effort" of her marriage and of all marriages in general.
NEWS
September 6, 1996 | SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
"Murdering the king's English," my grandmother would say reproachfully, every time I played, consciously or unconsciously with the language. She also made me sit with a broom across my shoulders for posture, and forced me to write thank you letters one split second after I opened the present. Bless her, she provided structure, but the question remains, who was that king, and why was it his English?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 17, 2006 | Anne-Marie O'Connor, Times Staff Writer
LATE one night, author Susan Straight was listening to the whistle of passing trains and smelling the jasmine that smothers her white picket fence close to where the road dead-ends into the sagebrush chaparral near her Riverside home. Her imagination strayed from the contemporary novel she was writing; what if her three daughters, sleeping peacefully across the hall, had been born 200 years ago, when girls just like them were someone's property?
BOOKS
November 18, 1990 | Judith Freeman, Freeman is the author of the novel, "The Chinchilla Farm," and the forthcoming "Set for Life." and
The great strength of "Aquaboogie," Susan Straight's remarkable first work of fiction, is the way this "novel-in-stories" brings to life the rich and vibrant life of an all-black community. All the more remarkable is the fact that Straight isn't black herself, as she explains in an afterword: "People who read my stories are always surprised to find out that I have blue eyes and blond hair.
NEWS
June 27, 1994 | MICHAEL HARRIS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Call him the YBMWA. Young Black Man With Attitude. He's one of the main characters in Susan Straight's latest novel about African American life in the Inland Empire, though, strictly speaking, he doesn't exist. He's a shadow, a ghost. He's the stereotype that the young black men in the book wrestle with, try to evade and sometimes--drawn like moths to flame--suicidally embrace; he's the lens through which almost every white person views them, no matter how clean-cut or hard-working they may be.
BOOKS
July 5, 1992 | Doris Grumbach, Doris Grumbach's most recent book is "Coming into the End Zone: A Memoir" (Norton).
There are areas of linguistic experience for which I can claim some personal experience, but Gullah, the Creole language spoken by South Carolinan blacks on the coast and sea islands, is not one of them. Dimly I remember reading Du-Bose Heyward's "Porgy" years ago and understanding little of the dialogue. So I will be honest and say, at the start, that I have not a clue as to whether Susan Straight, in her second novel, has used the dialect accurately.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 25, 2005 | Nick Owchar
SUSAN STRAIGHT Novelist Susan Straight doesn't experiment with narration or construct bizarre linguistic puzzles, but she does venture into territories that some have thought inappropriate -- namely, that of being a white woman in her 40s writing about the interior lives of black characters. Straight has always challenged the notion that one must "write only what you know," preferring instead to delve into the emotional issues that move her the most.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2014 | Susan Straight
What does it take to be a writer: A room of one's own? A weakness for words? To celebrate the Festival of Books, we asked five celebrated authors to recall a turning point in their evolution as writers. First up is Susan Straight, recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' 2013 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. I wrote the stories in my first book by hand, in these places: at the counter of the Mobil station where I worked in 1979, between customers, eating beef jerky and stale cashews out of the nut mix no one ever bought from the cloudy glass compartments beneath my notebook; sitting on a huge rock at the beach in Rosarito, Mexico, in 1983 after my husband fell asleep in the tiny hotel where we spent our two-night honeymoon, writing in my notebook; sitting at a card table in married student housing in 1984 in Amherst with the small blue Smith-Corona my mother had given me for high school graduation; in a pale green 1980-something Fiat with brakes that went out all the time, upon which occasion my husband would have me sit in the driver's seat and pump the brakes while he was underneath the car in the gravel driveway of our house back in Riverside in 1988, and I held a notebook and pen, writing.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2012 | By Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times
Susan Straight lives mere blocks from where she was born in the Inland Empire town of Riverside. She says there are two types of people, those who stay and those who leave. Straight has always stayed. "All I am is a writer and a mom," says Straight, the author of eight novels, divorced mother of three daughters and a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside. On a recent Monday afternoon, just a few days before the release of her latest novel, "Between Heaven and Here" (McSweeneys, $24)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 10, 2010 | Hector Tobar
Standing outside a bookstore on 8th Street a decade ago, novelist Susan Straight looked across the street and saw a vision of Los Angeles loneliness. Men clustered around a black door, surrounded by a wall of black tile. They filled the dark, narrow space inside, reeking of cheap liquor and hurt. "It was just the saddest place I'd ever seen," Straight told me as we stood outside the Golden Gopher bar this week. "There was this lingering melancholy all around this block. You could just smell the desperation of all these men. " These days the Golden Gopher is a hip hangout whose patrons include guys in suits.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 17, 2010 | By Susan Straight, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Biraderi. The other night, my cellphone rang at one a.m. My nephew Sensei said, "Auntie. You told me to call. " "Yup," I said. "And?" "I'm alive. " "Excellent. " Only two serious rules, my three daughters kept telling him: Don't eat chocolate or red foods on the beige couch (why I bought a beige couch years ago is another story), and call at night so she knows you're alive. Don't blow that one. My nephew came to live with us just as I was finishing "Take One Candle Light a Room," a novel about a Los Feliz travel writer named Fantine Antoine who's deliberately distanced herself from her rural family and refused to take in her orphaned godson, Victor.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 12, 2010 | By Susan Salter Reynolds, Special to the Los Angeles Times
She's gotta do it: write in the language of the people she knows, filling the pitcher to overflowing. It started with "Aquaboogie," linked stories set in her hometown of Riverside, peopled with her people, perched on the sides of dry river beds, always running, getting in and out of trouble, making up stories, talking in vernacular so fast and brazen it was hard to believe it came from out East on the 10 Freeway. Six books and many prizes later, Straight is still writing books that bring national attention to the Other Southern California, the off ramps and alleyways of the desert towns east of Los Angeles, places where swimming pools and movie deals seem an impossible dream away.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 17, 2006 | Anne-Marie O'Connor, Times Staff Writer
LATE one night, author Susan Straight was listening to the whistle of passing trains and smelling the jasmine that smothers her white picket fence close to where the road dead-ends into the sagebrush chaparral near her Riverside home. Her imagination strayed from the contemporary novel she was writing; what if her three daughters, sleeping peacefully across the hall, had been born 200 years ago, when girls just like them were someone's property?
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Hector Tobar
Krista Bremer's cross-cultural journey began on a North Carolina jogging path, where the one-time California surfer girl met a scientist from Libya who romanced her and swept her away. Bremer, one of the authors at this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, chronicled that experience in a memoir titled "My Accidental Jihad. " The "accident" refers to an unexpected pregnancy; "jihad" (Arabic for "effort" or "struggle") is her way of describing the "effort" of her marriage and of all marriages in general.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 17, 2010 | By Susan Straight, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Biraderi. The other night, my cellphone rang at one a.m. My nephew Sensei said, "Auntie. You told me to call. " "Yup," I said. "And?" "I'm alive. " "Excellent. " Only two serious rules, my three daughters kept telling him: Don't eat chocolate or red foods on the beige couch (why I bought a beige couch years ago is another story), and call at night so she knows you're alive. Don't blow that one. My nephew came to live with us just as I was finishing "Take One Candle Light a Room," a novel about a Los Feliz travel writer named Fantine Antoine who's deliberately distanced herself from her rural family and refused to take in her orphaned godson, Victor.
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