“Every brother on the Westside had fallen in love with Glorette, and even though she’d been on the street for ten years . . . no one had ever fallen out.” When her body is discovered behind a taqueria, the repercussions can be felt like an aftershock in the town of Rio Seco, a tightly knit community near L.A., and in Sarrat, where Glorette’s family resides among the orange groves. Suspicions run rampant. In Rio Seco, everyone has a secret, some of which are common knowledge, but no one is talking. Straight has not written a murder mystery here but instead has fashioned a closely observed profile of an insular community with roots going back to Louisiana and the flood of 1927. This immersing novel, set five years before Straight’s Take One Candle, Light a Room (2010), includes a number of the same characters, and as in its predecessor, past and present are inextricably commingled. Every action brings to mind some past action, reminding us of Faulkner’s famous remark, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” --Ben Segedin
"It is only the rarest of novels that cry for a sequel, the most unusual of stories that at once satisfies and leaves the reader aching for more. Susan Straight's remarkable Take One Candle Light A Room is such a novel. And she has satisfied our desires in Between Heaven and Here, a magnificent novel, that manages to be at once unflinchingly real and transcendently beautiful. Susan Straight is one of the very best American writers. If you haven't read her, you're in for a delight and an awakening. If you have, then you're probably as thrilled as I am that she has taken us back to Rio Seco."
See all Editorial Reviews
"Susan Straight finds LA’s secret heart in Between Heaven and Here and with a sleight of hand only the masters have, she creates an alley, a neighborhood, a history that is as rich and tragic as any Shakespearean tale."
"Straight employs glorious language and a riveting eye for detail to create a fully realized, totally believable world."
Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Straight plunges readers into a whirlwind of dialects, drugs, derelict homes, and delinquent locals as she weaves together the story of Glorette's life and death, while addressing weighty and timely issues like race, language, and the socioeconomically disenfranchised. Straight deftly avoids clichés and easy outs, and her refusal to vilify or sanctify the numerous members of her cast allows the experiences of each to resonate powerfully."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Despite the tragedies that befall them, Straight’s characters still recognize the splendor of the natural world, from the pepper trees behind the taqueria to the orange blossoms in the alley scenting the midnight air. . . Straight’s group portrait of this community ought to be recognized as a national artistic treasure. Her focus on this singular place magnifies the hopes and disappointments of so many Americans, so many humans on earth."The Boston Globe
"And yet, in a novel set in a world in which people are too often stripped of dignity, Straight has accomplished the larger act of ennobling her characters. She sees them clearly and gives them a striking presence on the page."The New York Times
"Straight, a 2001 National Book Award finalist for Highwire Moon, has the ability to create straightforward contemporary voices, no pun intended. She does not subscribe to the maximalist school of over-the-top characters, yet she can still dramatize the complex, jagged nature of American culture today."
The Daily Beast
"Susan Straight has remarkable range as a writer. Her voice can be elegant in the rhythms and vocabulary of her narrative, yet also blunt and raw in dialogue... Her work is so intensely alive in its movement, action, and in the speech of her characters that reading it is almost like being caught in the center of a storm: exhausting but exhilarating at the same time."
"How can a novel that is essentially the story of a dead prostitute prove so uplifting? It must be some kind of black magic that only Susan Straight can work . . . And by the end of this gorgeous and heart-wrenching novel, this family will be your people, too."
The Dallas Morning News
"Straight’s writing pulls the reader into a world that is both surreal and yet inescapably concrete, ugly and beautiful all at once. She binds the multifaceted perspectives together into a narrative that is fragmented but still very much whole."BUSTLE