From a fresh new Southern California voice comes this wise and intimate debut collection that offers a fascinating glimpse of exclusive Newport Beach through the lives of the waiters and waitresses, divorced and single parents, and alienated teens who all, in some way, find themselves on the outside looking in.
“Henry’s House” introduces us to Melody and Katharine, single mothers who raised their daughters together—until Melody marries for money, sacrificing herself so that her mother and Katharine can enjoy the luxuries her beauty has earned them all. “Remoras” probes the transformative friendship between John, a waiter of ambiguous sexual proclivities, and Annette, the restaurant’s hostess, who has promised herself to a fellow Armenian. And then there’s Rosie, whose evolution from a lonely child of divorce to precocious teenager, alcoholic college student, and eventual career waitress provides heartbreaking punctuation to this linked collection.
Deceptively powerful and refreshingly frank, Patterson’s stories—like those of ZZ Packer, Julie Orringer, and Nell Freudenberger—plumb the depths of female friendship and what it means to be an outsider, all while offering a rare and rewarding glimpse inside affluent Newport Beach.
PRAISE & REVIEWS
“Set against the affluence of Newport Beach, Patterson’s debut collection often focuses on the enclaves– outcasts, waitstaff, divorcées, alcoholics, and drug addicts–as her characters confront personal battles, the limits of friendship, and the bleary anticipation of a different life. Patterson’s 13 engaging tales offer keen perspectives on life lived on the fringe.”
“Patterson”s unflinching account of the seedy side of a real-life Xanadu is frightening, immersive, and wonderfully realized.”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“DRIFT is one of the truest depictions of Southern California I’ve read yet. Set fifty miles south of Los Angeles, amidst the rampant materialism and manicured malls of Newport Beach, Patterson depicts characters simultaneously at odds with, and in sync with, the cultural void around them. This work is subtle, honest, and a great pleasure to read.”
“Victoria Patterson¹s Newport Beach is a privileged world of wealth and heedless consumption that trails a wake of human damage. By giving us nuanced portraits of the sidelined, she somehow evokes the complex, glittering whole. Patterson is our generation’s heir to John O’Hara and Edith Wharton. And nobody else writes about female sexuality with such sensitivity and fearlessness. Several times, I had to put this book down just to catch my breath.”
–Michelle Huneven, author of Jamesland and Round Rock
“Ms. Patterson has enormous talent and I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more from her.”
–James Lee Burke, author of The Neon Rain
“If I could write just a single story as beautiful and sad and intelligent as the thirteen linked together in Drift, I’m pretty sure that I could die a happy man. Victoria Patterson makes me envious as hell, and I applaud her for it.”
–Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff