Publication Date: Apr 21, 2009
List Price US $15.99
The little, leafy town of Rancho Esperanza has been a perfect place to live for over a century—a bastion of good, solid, Anglo-Saxon, Republican money. These founding fathers built their gracious estates and country club and fondly called their town, “Ohio by the Sea.” There was only one traffic light and time seemed to stop at the freeway off-ramp. Then came the Clinton years and the invasion of the New American Ruling Class: New York hedge fund managers, Hollywood producers, and Silicon Valley billionaires. Almost overnight, real estate prices quadruple, horse pastures vanish, tuna tartare and arugula appear on every menu, and a Democratic congresswoman is elected by a landslide. The Old Guard aristocrats of yesterday are now irrelevant and the only power they have left is keeping the Kornblatts out of their country club. Twelve characters with distinctly different voices tell their tales of lust and longing spanning the years from World War II to the present—each story a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. The pieces all fit together until the secrets and lies, guarded for generations, are revealed, changing everything we thought was true about Rancho Esperanza and the people who live there.
Written as a novel in stories, Dori Carter’s social satire gets into the hearts and souls of her characters, and presents a fresh look at our attitudes toward money and the ever-shifting nature of status in America.
Excerpt from We Are Rich
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “We were poor but the glory of it was we never knew it.” Maybe in Abilene, Kansas, he couldn’t figure it out, but in Rancho Esperanza, California, if your family didn’t have money, no one ever let you forget it. I was nine years old when we moved there, and even though the Vietnam War raged nightly on our Magnavox, and a marching-fucking-drugged-out-rampaging youth was upending America (and all but annihilating the Wasp Establishment in the process), Rancho Esperanza remained a town where Old Money and social rominence went hand-in-glove. Among the rich, and even those of us who weren’t, it was simply understood: pedigree was everything. Not only your pedigree, but your horses’ and your dogs’ as well. My mother, whose parents were humble Danish dairy farmers, took the opposite approach and firmly subscribed to the Scandinavian code of janteloven–don’t show off. Though I suspect this was less a family ethos than a realization that we couldn’t anyway, so why bother trying.
“This story of the transformation of idyllic California hamlet Rancho Esperanza spans six decades and as many economic strata, building a social satire of modern hillside wealth and how it got that way.” —The Santa Barbara Independent