2018 NOVELLA PRIZE SELECTED BY TARASHEA NESBIT
JANUARY 2019. ISBN 978-1-881163-6
$15.00 SPD | Bookshop | Amazon | Pathway
By recounting one woman’s real-time Joy Temper grew up wandering the woods of Temper, CA, a Gold Rush town her family helped establish in the 1840s. Upon returning to her childhood home for her grandfather’s funeral, she discovers that the stories she’s long traded on about her hippie upbringing have little to do with reality. Her struggles to face who she once was, and what she now desires, force her to confront family secrets and long-suppressed memories in a novella both familial and romantic, contemporary and historical.
Reviews & Such
- [A] memorable novella about the intricate interplay of family, memory, and identity. – John David Harding, The Rupture Magazine, Issue 103: June 2019
- The depiction of real and messy experiences is essential to representing the colorful and multifaceted lives of queer individuals. The struggles with identity that drive the plot are not centered around sexual identity but rather something much more deeply rooted. –Hayley Neiling, Heavy Feather Review, April 2019
- [Temper CA] conspicuously decides to extract its choice moments not through dramatic confrontations, but through the various curses of its drained locale, moments manifesting themselves in a kind of psychoactive response by characters who don’t want to be there at all. – Forrest Roth, The Literary Review, Vol.62 Issue 01. Spring 2019
- The word “engaging” acquires new resonance in Paul Skenazy’s Temper CA, a book of quiet, relentless seduction. No explosions rattle these pages, no international intrigue—it is a small book of careful, sudden perfection. –Christina Waters, Good Times, January 1, 2019
- Paul Skenazy’s fiction misbehaves. It swerves, it revisits ground and digs deeper, it confounds expectations. He has the gift of creating characters who are sympathetic not in spite of their prickliness but because of it, and of depicting human bonds that are all the tenser for being so strong.”
—Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom and Purity
- This elegant and unforgettable novella pulls us into the secrets and desires of Joy Temper, a woman carrying the weight of her family and a fair share of California history on her shoulders. Skenazy reminds us that our deepest wounds often make us most receptive and alive.
—Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen
- This is a beautiful and fascinating book, a skillfully constructed and dramatic story about hatred and profound affection within a difficult family. It s a mystery tale about redefining a childhood and rediscovering many aspects of love. I was moved deeply throughout, and consider Temper CA a small, truly insightful and courageous masterpiece.
—John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War
About the Author
Paul Skenazy grew up in Chicago, studied at the University of Chicago and Stanford, and taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has published essays, stories, and reviews in a range of newspapers and magazines, as well as critical work on James M. Cain and other noir writers. He lives in Santa Cruz with the poet Farnaz Fatemi.