By James Franco
(Scribner, Paperback, 9781439163153, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
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A fiercely vivid collection of stories about troubled California teenagers and misfits--violent and harrowing, from the astonishingly talented actor and artist James Franco.
Palo Alto is the debut of a surprising and powerful new literary voice. Written with an immediate sense of place--claustrophobic and ominous--James Franco's collection traces the lives of an extended group of teenagers as they experiment with vices of all kinds, struggle with their families and one another, and succumb to self-destructive, often heartless nihilism. In "Lockheed" a young woman's summer--spent working a dull internship--is suddenly upended by a spectacular incident of violence at a house party. In "American History" a high school freshman attempts to impress a girl during a classroom skit with a realistic portrayal of a slave owner—only to have his feigned bigotry avenged. In "I Could Kill Someone," a lonely teenager buys a gun with the aim of killing his high school tormentor, but begins to wonder about his bully's own inner life.
These linked stories, stark, vivid, and disturbing, are a compelling portrait of lives on the rough fringes of youth.
James Franco is an acclaimed actor, director, artist, and writer. His film appearances include "127 Hours," "Howl," "Milk," "Pineapple Express," and the "Spider-Man" trilogy. On television, he starred in the critically acclaimed series "Freaks and Geeks." Franco has written and directed several short films, and his visual art was featured in a solo show at the Clocktower Gallery in New York. His writing has appeared in Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, McSweeney's, and other publications. Franco has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, and is enrolled in the PhD program in literature at Yale University.
James Franco doesn't just spend his time acting in the movies. The star of Milk, Howl and 127 Hours is also an accomplished writer and graduate student. He explains how he juggles his many roles â?? and why he continues to take on new challenges. More at NPR.org
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“Startling and original.”—The Economist
“[Franco] ends up perfectly mirroring the undulations of a teenage mind.”—The New York Times Book Review