This year’s fiction selections, published in the pages of Alta Journal and on our website, took readers on emotional, fantastical, and geographic journeys. We invite you to settle in and revisit each of these stories from authors Allie Rowbottom, Susan Straight, Karen Tei Yamashita, Marianne Wiggins, and Daniel A. Olivas.
“He Dreams About the Bunny Ranch”
In Allie Rowbottom’s raw, heartbreaking short story, a couple seeks a sex worker for the husband as his wife dies of cancer. Rowbottom is the author of the new novel Aesthetica, from Soho Press.
From Susan Straight’s critically acclaimed 2022 novel, Mecca, this excerpt gives readers a look at Johnny, a highway patrolman in the Inland Empire, shaped by fire seasons, Santa Ana winds, and the trauma of the job.
In this fable from the California Book Club’s March 2022 author, Karen Tei Yamashita, a boy rides on the back of a turtle from island to island, encountering a library, an island of obsessive readers, a wise old man, and more.
Properties of Thirst
National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns after a 15-year hiatus with Properties of Thirst, a multigenerational saga of California. During World War II, Rocky Rhodes mourns the loss of his wife while wandering his dry, cracked land.
Alta Journal serialized the opening section of the novel in five parts ahead of the book’s release. Read more here:
“My Chicano Heart”
A husband begs his wife for his heart—and his freedom—in this surreal short fiction by Daniel A. Olivas, from his upcoming collection, My Chicano Heart: New and Collected Stories of Love and Other Transgressions.