McSweeney?s presents Salvador Plascencia and Paul La Farge

Aug ’05
12:00 am

McSweeney?s presentsSalvador Plascencia and Paul La FargeMonday, August 15th, 7:00 PMFREE
THE PEOPLE OF PAPER BY SALVADOR PLASCENCIA After his wife leaves him, Federico de la Fe and his daughter Little Merced depart the town of Las Tortugas, Mexico and head for Los Angeles. There, with the aid of a local street gang and the prophetic powers of a baby Nostradamus, they engage in an epic battle to find a cure for sadness. Mechanical tortoises, disillusioned saints hiding in wrestling rings, a woman made of paper, and Rita Hayworth are a few of the players whose destinies intertwine in this story of war and lost love. The People of Paper is simultaneously a father-daughter immigration story, a wildly inventive reimagining of Southern Californian mythology, and an exploration of the limits of fiction. Part memoir, part lies, this is a book about the wounds inflicted by first love and sharp objects.
Salvador Plascencia was born in 1976 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Plascencia?s mother was a seamstress, his father a factory worker who moved frequently between California and their home in Jalisco. Growing up at his grandparents? farm, his extended family passed along a wealth of stories, some of which formed the inspiration for The People of Paper. His family eventually settled east of Los Angeles in the city of El Monte when Plascencia was eight years old. At the time, he spoke no English. Salvador Plascencia holds a BA in English from Whittier College and an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University. He received a National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts Award in Fiction in 1996 and the Peter Nagoe Prize for Fiction in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, the first fellow in fiction. The People of Paper is Plascencia?s first novel. His first published fiction appeared in McSweeney?s No. 12.
Paul Poissel was not born in 1848. As a young man, he did not set out to become the greatest Turkish architect in Paris. He did not fail to become the greatest Turkish architect in Paris. He never became a poet, or invented puzzles for an illustrated magazine. In 1904, he did not write this book, The Facts of Winter. Paul La Farge has translated (from the original French) this collection of dreams?funny, haunting, enigmatic?all dreamed by people in and around Paris in 1881. La Farge?s afterword investigates the Facts? creation, uncovering startling revelations, unknown truths, and new falsehoods.
La Farge is a frequent contributor to McSweeney?s and is the author of Haussmann, or the Distinction, a New York Times Notable Book, and The Artist of the Missing, winner of the California Book Award. He is also a leading scholar on the work of Paul Poissel, one of the least known of the little-known French ?tiny metaphysician? writers of the late 19th century.