One of the best books of fiction to have come out in recent memory is award-winning author Lou Mathew’s novel in stories, Shaky Town (246 pages; Tiger Van Books). Published nearly a year ago, it is one of those rare works that carries an assuring integrity, showing evidence of a writer who understands the bafflement that is the human condition and has the capacity to articulate inchoate sadness and hurt and anger. In Mathews’ case, it is the thoughts and travails of working-class Los Angeles that interest him. Many of his characters are lower middle-class Mexican Americans, a community to […]
I’m reading in the newspaper today and I see that Peter O’Malley wants to build a new football stadium, next to Dodger Stadium. Some of the neighbors are upset. ¡Que surprise! Some of them have been upset since the first O’Malley built the first stadium. That one was Walter. A big, smart, mean Irishman from
Lou Mathews has received a Pushcart Prize, a Katherine Anne Porter Prize, National Endowment for the Arts and California Arts Commission fellowships in fiction. His stories have been published in Black Clock, Tin House, New England Review, and many other literary magazines, ten fiction anthologies and several textbooks. His first novel, L.A. Breakdown was a Los Angeles Times Best Book.
Mathew’s story, “Last Dance,” which is from a longer work titled Shaky Town, presents us with a Los Angeles instantly recognizable to many Angelenos. It’s a Los Angeles that’s primarily Mexican American, blue-collar, and community-minded. The residents of Shaky Town know each other well (perhaps too well), and their shared histories are long and complex. The following is an excerpt of Mathew’s story. You can read it in its entirety in Issue No. 106, which you can order here.