San Remo Drive

Publication Date: Apr 17, 2003

272 pp


List Price US $13.00
ISBN: 9781590514313

Trade Paperback

List Price US $13.00
ISBN: 9781590510674


List Price US $24.00
ISBN: 9781590510667

Leslie Epstein’s novel, set in Los Angeles in the 1950s and then, in a long final section, in 2000, depicts the Jacobis, the family of a famous film writer and director. Their story is told by Richard Jacobi, elder son, at the summit of his career as a painter. In five extended narratives, the novel traces the trajectory of Richard’s self-awareness as he comes to terms with the death of his principled father and its lasting effects on his mother, brother, and himself. At the same time, the novel meditates on the status of Jews and African-Americans in the U.S. after World War II, and beautifully evokes the landscape of Southern California in its last days before the migration to it of millions.

Richard’s reflections betray no nostalgia, but record forthrightly his feelings for a region and the people close to him. We see him on his living room floor watching, on a brand-new 1952 Zenith television, the broadcast of his father testifying before the House Committee on un-American Activities, at the beach in Malibu sizing up a French poseur in pursuit of his mother and her money, and on a trip with his brother and friends to a bar and brothel in Mexico. Through his sensitive discernment, the novel’s stories build until one moment crystallizes all that has come before.

In this novel, Leslie Epstein has revealed his past through the lens of his art. Like an American Proust, he shows how memory shapes the crucial events of a life.

Excerpt from San Remo Drive

“One of the four best Hollywood novels ever written.” —Elizabeth Frank, New York Times Book Review

“Epstein is a master storyteller at the height of his powers.” —Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Mr. Epstein effortlessly captures the magic of a Hollywood childhood . . . San Remo Drive is a haunting and deeply affecting book.” —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times