Michelle Latiolais: She

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Neither a novel nor a collection of stories, the "fictions" in Michelle Latiolais' She (W.W. Norton) weave together a composite view of Los Angeles.  Its title refers to a spectrum of "shes," vivid portraits of women who populate the book. A 15-years-old runaway girl meets a botanist with burdensome college debt who works in a bakery, using her scientific training to make sugar flowers for cakes. The botanist bonds with the runaway, providing family-like care. In a hospital waiting room, two wildly hilarious Texas women connect with the worried niece of a woman being treated for cancer. Latiolais admits that in the process of moving in close to her characters, she reveals herself.

Photo: Rob LaFond