Karen Tei Yamashita & Angie Sijun Lou / Dark Soil: Fictions and Mythographies

The Booksmith

1727 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

From $0.00

Tue, May 28th, 2024 @ 7:00PM PDT

Booksmith is thrilled to host an event for Dark Soil: Fictions and Mythographies, an anthology edited by Angie Sijun Lou that features personal nonfiction by eight authors and ten stories by Karen Tei Yamashita that illuminate the hidden stories of places large and small. More to be announced, but please save the date and join us!

About the book

Faced with a scant historical record, Karen Tei Yamashita turns to fiction to animate the secrets of Santa Cruz, the city she’s called home for nearly three decades. Her characters come alive through her signature witty humor and surreal premises, transcending the past and urging themselves into the present to illuminate a hidden geography of this California coastal city unseen in textbooks.

Alongside these stories, eight nonfiction writers chart their own counternarratives of place through the greater United States. Diverging and converging in their scale and scope, from an unnamed lot on the bank of the Ohio River to the territory of Guam, their essays use language as an instrument of excavation, uncovering layers of hurt and desire concealed in the land.

Advance praise for Dark Soil

"A centrifugal, suggestive way of looking at place through the lens of story." – Kirkus Reviews

"A stunning anthology uses the strength of story, both fiction and nonfiction, to address missing histories and revive the narratives that have too often been omitted." Shelf Awareness

“Countering the relentless tendency of capitalist modernity, the exquisite geography of these chapters annihilates time by space. I can’t stop thinking about José Saramago, especially Raised from the GroundDark Soil’s multiple, stubborn narrators creatively mix humor and surprise with the extraordinary brutalities of ordinary violence. The book sings of planetary consciousness, refusing partitions and enclosures by remembering life in excess of such deadliness.” – Ruth Wilson Gilmore

"Karen Tei Yamashita and the essayists of Dark Soil have brought to life figures who have been passed over in history and literature. This book is like burning thousands of incense sticks in their honor. Dark Soil is a must read." – George Ow Jr.

About the editor

Angie Sijun Lou is a Kundiman Fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the American Poetry Review, the Georgia Review, and Amerasia Journal. She lives in Oakland.

Karen Tei Yamashita is the author of seven books (including I Hotel, finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently Sansei and Sensibility), all published by Coffee House Press. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and a United States Artists’ Ford Foundation Fellowship, she is professor emerita of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Please note:

  • Our space is ample but limited: the best way to make sure you get a space is to reserve a spot with a ticket. If we've sold out of tickets, though, we have a limited number of seats set aside for walkups on the day of the event, first come / first served starting half an hour before showtime. Check in with a host when you arrive about availability and/or potential waitlist options.
  • We are happy to offer *signed copies* of Dark Soil: order a Book + Seat ticket bundle if you'd like to pick up a signed copy at the event, or order here if you just want a signed copy and no admission.
  • Safety protocols are subject to change. If we feel it is not safe to gather, as the event gets closer, we will pivot to a virtual event and your registration will remain valid.
  • Questions? Accessibility requests? Write [email protected].


Refund Policy:

No refunds or returns.

Cancellation Policy:

In the event of cancellation, you will be refunded the price of your ticket within 4 business days.

The Booksmith
1727 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117