Five stories track boys and men as they navigate among the ghosts and mirages of greater Los Angeles. Rifkin's male protagonists are part fuck-up, part primal force, and full of longing—for fathers, for mothers, for sex, for faith, for just getting it right.
A one-time actor staggers toward his demise and clings to a ledge of -possibly lunatic belief; a young boy is haunted by cosmic loneliness in the form of a medical encyclopedia; the heir to an absent father’s wealth can’t quite bring himself to claim his portion.
The ordinary becomes epic in the contested terrain between faith and doubt, love and sex, spirit and flesh, reality and illusion.
Alan Rifkin is a writer for Los Angeles Magazine. He lives in Long Beach, CA.
"...hauntingly beautiful, the work of a gifted storyteller with a sharp eye but a tender heart." —LA Times Book Review
"In his new collection, Rifkin writes with such startling originality and authority that you have to believe he'll be the next darling of the literary world." —Time Out, NY
"Stories and a novella suggest that Rifkin is what might have happened had Nathanael West lived on and been even more talented.... Exquisite." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"As incisive, eloquent and definitive a collection of L.A. stories as any since David Freeman's A Hollywood Education nearly twenty years ago, but from the other side of the psychic tracks, where desperation runs parallel with wisdom." —Steve Erickson
"Alan Rifkin's stories have a magnificent plaintive beauty. Not since Flannery O'Connor have so many misfits prevailed." —Martha Sherrill, author of My Last Movie Star: A Novel of Hollywood
"A spot on, weirdly life-affirming and terrifically written batch of stories. I could read this guy all day." —Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight and Perv-A Love Story
"Alan Rifkin's collection of deeply felt short stories carefully balances love and loss, faith and emptiness with both wit and wonder. His people are tragic, funny, quixotic, and always on the brink of redemption. A terrific collection." —Jill Ciment, author of Half a Life and Teeth of the Dog