In this debut collection of short fiction, secrets, all-embracing conversations, dreams, disappointments, and familial conflict provide a never-before-seen portrait of the city of Atlanta. What is the message hidden behind a polite smile? In Yong Takahashi’s Atlanta, the immigrants, preacher’s wives, strippers, and shopkeepers who pass each other on the street all have a secret story to tell. Caught between generations of family, regrets from their pasts, conflicting cultures, and even countries, each character has a reason to fiercely guard their secret lives, even as they learn that the truth must escape. Takahashi’s characters chase their American dreams down back alleys and campaign trails, stumbling under the weight of the gifts their families have given them. A box of Boraxo hand soap. Change for the vending machine. A stranger’s driver’s license. A mother’s love. The smallest exchange could prove kill or cure when you walk the streets of Candyland.
The Escape to Candyland brings immigrant literature to the American south, and excavates the experiences that bind us, focusing with special care on dreamers who love and want to be loved. Zachary Steele, author of Anointed and Flutter, and founder and executive director of Broadleaf Writers Association, says of the book, “Escape to Candyland is a mesmerizing collection that weaves delicately through the wasteland of life’s pain and struggle . . . [and] captures the breadth of hope and love contained in the human heart.”
Prize-winning writer Yong Takahashi is a first-generation Korean American. Growing up in Detroit with English as her second language, she worked hard to connect lessons of the New World to rules of the Old World. These struggles helped her develop insight into the human psyche and an eye for appreciating the diverse spectrum of humans around her. A resident of Atlanta, Georgia, The Escape to Candyland is her offering to the diverse groups of people who call the city home.
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