Manuel Muñoz was born in 1972 and went to Harvard University. He has published two short story collections, and received a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, and the prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award. Find him online at www.manuel-munoz.com.
Bakersfield, California in the late 1950s is a dusty, quiet town too far from Los Angeles to share that city’s energy yet close enough to Hollywood to fill its citizens with the kind of dreams they discover in the darkness of the movie theatre. For Teresa, an aspiring singer working at a shoe store, dreams lie in the music of love and longing her mother shared with her. In Dan Watson, the most desirable young man in town, she thinks she has found someone to help realize her dreams.
When a famous actress arrives from Hollywood with a great and already legendary director, local gossip about Teresa and Dan gives way to speculation about the celebrated visitors, there to work on what will become an iconic, groundbreaking film of madness and murder at a roadside motel. No one anticipates how the ill-fated love affair between Dan and Teresa will soon rival anything the director could ever put on the screen.
This is a thoroughly original work within the great tradition of noir, captivating in its juxtapositions of tenderness and menace, violence and regret, played out in a town on the brink of change.