Mark Arax visited Kepler's on May 13th to discuss his book, West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State. Host Marilyn Stoddard reports:
Mark Arax is a contributing writer at Los Angeles magazine and a former senior writer at the Los Angeles Times. He teaches nonfiction writing at Claremont McKenna College. He has roots in the Central Valley and got to know William Saroyan. His inspiration for this book is Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethlehem. He describes the type of writing he teaches as long-form, narrative non-fiction which could also describe this book. He said that writers in the west include the landscape as a character in their stories. "The west is America before America figures it out." He describes California as having not two parts but 6. His stories are vivid, compelling portrayals of people in various parts of the state. He said he started in the Central Valley and worked out. His subjects range from migrant workers and pot growers to a wealthy businessman/developer. His writing combines the skills of a veteran reporter and a story teller.