The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit (Made in Michigan Writers) (Paperback)
Wayne State University Press, 9780814334171, 200pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
In The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit Michael Zadoorian follows characters coming to terms with the past and the present in a broken city. Rusty, ornery, and down at the heels, Zadoorian's characters have made the wrong choices, been worn down by bad news, or survived traumatic events, but like the city they live in, they are determined not to let tragedy and rotten luck define them. Rich with detail and brimming with feeling, Zadoorian's deceptively simple stories lead readers into the inner lives of those making the best of their flawed surroundings and their own imperfections.
Zadoorian's stories are drawn from the everyday events that come to define his characters' lives. A woman responsible for putting down animals at a veterinary clinic travels to Mexico to stage a ritual for her victims, a veteran returns a flag stolen from a Japanese soldier he killed in World War II, an elderly couple takes a final road trip to a mystery spot out west, and a man spends his life waiting to inherit his parents' kitschy 1960s furniture but instead sells it all. Characters also find their lives shaped by seemingly random occurrences, like the junk shop owner who must stop the stranger with a vendetta against him, the woman who becomes obsessed with her in-laws' talking dog, and the urban spelunker who finds love and acceptance with a reader of his blog. Their close connection to Detroit also infuses Zadoorian's stories with themes significant to the city, including issues of racial tension, political unease, and economic hardship.
Zadoorian's writing throughout this collection is clear and vivid, never getting in the way of his characters or their stories. The unique but relatable characters and unexpected stories in The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit will appeal to all readers of fiction.