By Dixie Jordan
Masha'allah and Other Stories, a collection of stories set in Oakland, will be officially launched with a publication party Sunday, Oct. 28, at 3 p.m. at Diesel, A Bookstore, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. The author, former Oakland resident Mariah K. Young, will be on hand.
Earlier this year Young's book received the James D. Houston Award, honoring books by writers whose voices reflect humane values and a thoughtful literary exploration of California, Hawai'i, and the West. Young is also the recipient of the RV Williams prize for fiction.
The publisher, Berkeley-based HeyDay Books, says "Masha'allah and Other Stories brings readers deep into the diverse lives of an unforgettable cast of genuine, hard-working people in nine unique tales, set in the lively and unpredictable landscape of East Oakland.
"We take a ride with a hired Indian driver who gets more than he bargains for with an unusual fare; we meet a Mexican day laborer whose search for work leads him to the edges of human sacrifice and hope; we join a plucky Chinese house cleaner who sets up impromptu beauty parlors in the houses she cleans.
"All nine stories not only shine with brilliant literary power, but with a compassionate eye for detail and an honesty that cuts straight to the things that make or break us.
"Although deeply rooted in the world of Oakland, Masha'allah celebrates America as an immigrant nation, still breathing its strength, hopes, and promises in the pursuits of ordinary people on the fringes of society who have not — as of yet —given up on the American dream."
Born in San Leandro, Young spent her childhood living in the Bay Area in and around Oakland, and in Lahaina, Hawai`i. She is a graduate of California State University, East Bay. In 2008, she earned her MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside, and attended the Squaw Valley Writers' workshop on fellowship. She currently teaches writing in downtown Los Angeles, and lives in Hollywood.
Masha'allah is $15 in trade paperback format (HeyDay Books, November 2012).