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About Direct Sunlight:
The stories in Direct Sunlight, award-winning author Christine Sneed’s latest, are inspired by the memorable strangeness of everyday life. The characters in these topically diverse tales experience events that bring the terms of their day-to-day lives and their relationships into focus in a way hitherto foreign to them.
The title story features two adult children learning of their father’s second family long after his death in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “Mega Millions” explores the aftermath of a small-town midwestern factory employee’s enormous lottery win. In “Dear Kelly Bloom,” a young journalist takes on the role of advice columnist at a faltering Chicago newspaper around the time of the 2008 financial meltdown and soon finds himself tasked with replying to his own mother’s letter requesting guidance on family matters. In “The Monkey’s Uncle Louis,” a contentedly childless man tries to make sense of his sister’s decision to adopt a capuchin monkey after she and her husband find themselves unable to conceive a baby of their own.
The stories in Direct Sunlight rely on humor but are balanced by Sneed’s clear-eyed sobriety about the sorrows inherent in the human condition.
Christine Sneed is the author of three novels and three story collections, most recently Please Be Advised: A Novel in Memos, and Direct Sunlight. She also edited the short fiction anthology Love in the Time of Time's Up. She has received the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, and has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other honors. Her stories have also appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Ploughshares, New England Review, The O. Henry Prize Stories. and various other publications. She lives in Pasadena, California.
About God Went Like That:
An artful and gripping new novel that recounts the human and environmental damage caused by actual disasters in Simi Valley, California
In award-winning legal scholar and novelist Yxta Maya Murray’s new novel, federal agent Reyna Rodriguez reports on a real-life nuclear reactor meltdown and accidents that occurred in 1959, 1964, and 1968 at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. An infamous research and development complex in California’s Simi Valley, the lab was eventually dismantled by the US government—but not before it created a toxic legacy of contamination and numerous cancer clusters. Toxins and nuclear residue may have been further released by the 2018 Woolsey Fire and 2019 floods in the area.
God Went Like That takes the form of an EPA report in which Reyna presents riveting interviews with individuals affected by the disasters. With imagination and artistry, Murray brings to life an actual 2011 Department of Energy dossier that detailed the catastrophes and the ensuing public health fallout and highlights the high costs of governmental malfeasance and environmental racism.
Yxta Maya Murray is a novelist, art critic, playwright, social practice artist, and law professor. The author of nine books, her most recent are the story collection, The World Doesn’t Work That Way, but It Could (University of Nevada Press, 2020), and the novel, Art Is Everything (TriQuarterly Press, 2021). Her next work of nonfiction, Artivism and the Law, is in progress and will be published by Cornell University Press. She has won a Whiting Award, an Art Writer’s Grant, a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation/Money For Women, and was a 2021 New York City Arts Corps Grants co-grantee. She’s also been named a fellow at the Huntington Library for her work on radionuclide contamination in Simi Valley, California.