"A masterpiece." —Michael Connelly. "A heartbreaker from beginning to end." —Viet Thanh Nguyen. "Beautiful, richly layered and full of a California that feels uniquely itself." —Attica Locke
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 Frias has California in his blood. A descendant of the state’s Indigenous people and Spanish settlers, he has Southern California’s forgotten towns and canyons in his soul. He spends his days working for the California Highway Patrol pulling over speeders, ignoring their racist insults, and pushing past the trauma of his rookie year, when he killed a man who was in the midst of assaulting a young woman named Bunny, who proceeded to run away. But like the Santa Ana winds, which every year bring risk of fire, Johnny’s moment of action twenty years ago sparks a slow-burning chain of connections that unites a vibrant, complex cast of characters in ways they never saw 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, we find that when push comes to shove, it’s always better to push back.