All new work by the justly celebrated Clarence Major. Stories of aspiration, thriving and authentic lives set in California's Bay Area. A few examples: A frustrated married woman searching for happiness online and at conferences. A reporter from San Francisco goes to Rome to interview the widow of a world-famous deceased American novelist. A young woman goes on a date with a young man just to teach him a lesson. In a San Francisco boarding house, a man is the bane of everyone's existence. Two children are disappointed when their mother marries while they are away visiting their father. A dilettante throws parties everybody loves. A communist from France becomes paranoid when the man she is dating might be spying on her. A frustrated married woman searching for happiness online and at conferences; A reporter from San Francisco goes to Rome to interview the widow of a world-famous deceased American novelist; In a San Francisco boarding house, a man is the bane of everyone's existence; and ten others. Clarence Major is a major American voice, and this book shows, in the short story form, why he is.
Author of two previous story collections, Clarence Major's novels include Dirty Bird Blues (a Penguin Classic), Such Was the Season, a Literary Guild selection, My Amputations, winner of the Western States Book Award; Painted Turtle: Woman with Guitar, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year. He has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Harvard Review, and other periodicals. He won a National Book Award Bronze Medal and many other awards. He was elected to The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2021. Recipient of four lifetime achievement awards, he is Distinguished Professor emeritus of twentieth century American literature, University of California at Davis.
"Clarence Major is the voice of our country singing sweet and bitter and loud. I wish I had written these stories. I could never make the magic he has perfected. I love it, and I know readers will celebrate this book's brilliance." - Luis Alberto Urrea
"Clarence Major deftly achieves in Golden Gate what Joyce does in Dubliners, Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio, and Alice Munro in her stories of Southwestern Ontario. With subtle realistic vignettes of relationships between citizens of a particular city, Major plumbs universal depths with a simplicity of style that only comes with great mastery. As with all great literature, he leaves us to grapple with the earth-shattering truths on our own. Long after I put down Golden Gate I am still shaking from the tremors of this masterpiece." - David Santos Donaldson
"Clarence Major is a major American voice, and Golden Gate and Other Stories shows how he does it with the short story. This collection is a commentary on how they used to make stories, back when stories had a real impact, and it proves the vitality of the form by giving a voice to every kind of character, in a great variety of eras in the Bay Area, and by glancing at the deepest questions—political, philosoph-ical, aesthetic, humanist. No lane goes undriven, no idea of what a story is goes uninvestigated, no human weakness is overlooked, and no sympathy goes un-extended, in the profoundest ways. This is how stories look when a whole lifetime has been given to them. We should revere this kind of commitment." - Rick Moody
"Like a literary ventriloquist, Clarence Major fully embodies the voices of each character in his new collection, Golden Gate. His range—of time periods and voices and settings that stretch from San Francisco to Berkley and all the way to the Bronx and beyond—is dizzying. The characters are at the height of their careers, the bottom, the middle. They are old and young, male and female, Black and white, left-wing activists of the 1960s, expressionist painters in the aughts, musicians, real estate agents, and a lot of regular people just trying to get by. Major is a master of the form at the height of his powers and his new big-hearted collection should be read widely and celebrated." - Bethany Ball
"Rare is the writer who can sound the depths of characters as diverse as America itself. Clarence Major is such a writer. The stories in Golden Gate beckon to the reader like the campfire storytellers of old: come here, sit, I will tell you a story. And yet his prose and his project are entirely modern. These are stories deeply concerned with the American experience. The scope of human feelings is on show here, and Major wields it to tell the story of America and Americans, our capacity for love and racism, joy and darkness, optimism and despair, kindness and cruelty, laughter and tears, and he does so with the kindest of hearts. Clarence Major is a writer of muscular imagination and fierce talent. Read this book. Then read everything else he has ever written." - Christian Livermore