Author: Susan Straight
One of The Washington Post's Ten Best Books of 2022. Finalist for the 2022 Kirkus Prize and the 2023 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. One of the New York Times' 10 Best California Books of 2022 and one of NPR's Best Books of 2022. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.
"A wide and deep view of a dynamic, multiethnic Southern California . . . Susan Straight is an essential voice in American writing and in writing of the West." —The New York Times Book Review
From the National Book Award finalist Susan Straight, Mecca is a stunning epic tracing the intertwined lives of native Californians fighting for life and land
Johnny Frías has California in his blood. A descendant of the state’s Indigenous people and Mexican settlers, he has Southern California’s forgotten towns and canyons in his soul. He spends his days as a highway patrolman pulling over speeders, ignoring their racist insults, and pushing past the trauma of his rookie year, when he killed a man assaulting a young woman named Bunny, who ran from the scene, leaving Johnny without a witness. But like the Santa Ana winds that every year bring the risk of fire, Johnny’s moment of action twenty years ago sparked a slow-burning chain of connections that unites a vibrant, complex cast of characters in ways they never see coming.
In Mecca, the celebrated novelist Susan Straight crafts an unforgettable American epic, examining race, history, family, and destiny through the interlocking stories of a group of native Californians all gasping for air. With sensitivity, furor, and a cinematic scope that captures California in all its injustice, history, and glory, she tells a story of the American West through the eyes of the people who built it—and continue to sustain it. As the stakes get higher and the intertwined characters in Mecca slam against barrier after barrier, they find that when push comes to shove, it’s always better to push back.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux