ADVANCE PRAISE FOR The House on Ashbury Street
Set in both 1975 and three decades after, Susie Hara’s beautiful novel deftly explores the aftereffects of held secrets and the healing power of community. With real life historical events woven into the narrative, The House on Ashbury Street shows us how national trauma becomes personal trauma, and how we find our way out of it.
—Janis Cooke Newman, author of A Master Plan for Rescue
I loved The House on Ashbury Street. Susie Hara explores the way we carry loss, love and trauma through the years. Two women, haunted by the past, join together to find out what really happened on Ashbury Street in San Francisco in 1975. Hara writes with grace and compassion about these compelling characters and those turbulent times.
—Ellen Sussman, New York Times bestselling author of French Lessons and other novels.
About the novel
It is 2005 and Deb Travis, a park ranger in Death Valley, has spent the last thirty years grieving the death of her brother Ron. He was the light of her life, her mentor and protector, a beautiful young man with an easy laugh and a bright green thumb. But according to police, he shot himself in the housing collective where he lived with five others in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. No letter was left behind, only a journal packed with diatribes against the government, the Vietnam War, and his shame over an unnamed secret. The cause of death seemed evident but the reason was never clear. Three decades later, Deb receives a disturbing comment on her website, challenging whether Ron’s death was truly a suicide and causing her to question everything she thought she knew.
Across the country in Brooklyn, Nikki Gold, a child therapist, is triggered by a young client’s case. Shadowy, disturbing images from Nikki’s childhood emerge, leading her to wonder if she, like so many of her clients, suffered a trauma. No such memory surfaces, but clearly something happened in the Haight-Ashbury house where she grew up. As she starts to explore what that might be, her life spirals out of control.
Meanwhile, as Deb begins digging into the past, she searches for members of the housing collective and finds Nikki, who had spent her childhood in the house and had looked up to Ron as a surrogate father. When Deb and Nikki reconnect, they embark on a search for answers but are met with even more questions. What painful truth was Ron hiding from his housemates? What did they know about him but leave unsaid? Does shedding light in the darkest corners of the people we love bring us any closer to them? Or are the secrets we keep sometimes the only thing saving us?
Susie Hara’s first novel, Finder of Lost Objects, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and recipient of an International Latino Book Award. She has worked in theater as a performer, director, and writer. Her stories appear in several anthologies, including Fast Girls and Stirring up a Storm. She lives and writes in San Francisco.
Finder of Lost Objects (Ithuriel's Spear, San Francisco)