In the spring of 2007, a brilliant computer programmer named Hans Reiser stands accused of murdering his estranged wife, Nina. Despite a mountain of circumstantial evidence against him, he proclaims his innocence. The case takes a twist when Nina’s former lover, and Hans’s former best friend, Sean Sturgeon, confesses to eight unrelated murders that no one has ever heard of.
At the time of Sturgeon’s confession, Stephen Elliot is paralyzed by writer’s block, in the thrall of Adderall dependency, and despondent over the state of his romantic life. But he is fascinated by Sturgeon, whose path he has often crossed in San Francisco’s underground S&M scene. What kind of person, he wonders, confesses to a murder he likely did not commit? One answer is, perhaps, a man like Elliott’s own father.
So begins a riveting journey through a neon landscape of false confessions, self-medication, and torturous sex. Set against the backdrop of a nation at war, in the declining years of the Silicon Valley tech boom and the dawn of Paris Hilton’s celebrity, The Adderall Diaries is at once a gripping account of a murder trial and a scorching investigation of the self. Tough, tender, and unflinchingly honest, it is the breakout book by one of the most daring writers of his generation. For more info: www.stephenelliott.com
Reading with Stephen Elliott is local author Joe Meno.
“Meno’s distinctively imaginative and compassionate fiction is forged at the intersection of ordinariness and astonishment. In this tragicomic family drama, his fifth novel, [The Great Perhaps], he creates a topsy-turvy household. Jonathan and Madeline Casper, timid and insular, are scientists at the University of Chicago. He is devoted to the elusive giant squid and prone to seizures at the sight of a cloud; she is conducting a bizarrely disastrous lab experiment involving pigeons. Amelia, the older of their two teen daughters, is suspended for writing inflammatory editorials in the school paper, while Thisbe has taken to ardent prayer. With anxiety running high over the Iraq War and the 2004 election, Madeline takes off in pursuit of a strange man-shaped cloud; Jonathan hides in a child’s fort of sheet-draped furniture; their valiant, neglected daughters run amok, and Henry, Jonathan’s ailing father, escapes from the nursing home. As Meno masterfully, and meaningfully, conflates the fantastic with the everyday, he reaches back to Henry’s broken childhood and a stint in a World War II internment camp for German Americans. Tender, funny, spooky, and gripping, Meno’s novel encompasses a subtle yet devastating critique of war; sensitively traces the ripple effect of a dark legacy of nebulousness, guilt, and fear; and evokes both heartache and wonder.” –Booklist