Three Questions with Rishi Reddi

Passage West author Rishi Reddi tells us what people take for granted about California.

CARICATURE BY STEVE CARROLL

What does it mean to write a story about immigration in our current political climate?
The results of the 2016 election made me mold the novel in a more concrete way. I suddenly had something crucial and urgent that needed to be conveyed.

What can we learn from your characters’ connections to the land?
I wanted to raise questions about what it means for a person to be “from” somewhere, or to “belong.” When one looks closely at notions of blood and soil, the historical meanings assigned to those words fall apart.

What do people take for granted about California?
Out East, and even in the Midwest and South, we don’t always appreciate the complexity. The story of America’s creation remains a more simple narrative of British colonial domination. In California, things have been a bit more complicated.

Read David L. Ulin’s review of Passage West.

Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic based in Elk Grove, California. She interviews authors for our Alta Asks and Alta Asks Live online series.

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