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What You See in the Dark
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Algonquin Books 2011
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Bakersfield, California, in the late 1950s is a dusty, quiet town too far from Los Angeles to share that city's energy yet close enough to Hollywood to fill its citizens with the kinds of dreams they discover in the darkness of the movie theater. For Teresa, a young, aspiring singer who works at a shoe store, dreams lie in the music her mother shared with her, plaintive songs of love and longing. In Dan Watson, the most desirable young man in Bakersfield, she believes she has found someone to help her realize those dreams.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Edition:
1
Street Date:
03/29/2011
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781616200596
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APA Citation (style guide)

Manuel Munoz. (2011). What You See in the Dark. 1 Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Manuel Munoz. 2011. What You See in the Dark. Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Manuel Munoz, What You See in the Dark. Algonquin Books, 2011.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Manuel Munoz. What You See in the Dark. 1 Algonquin Books, 2011.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:44:23
Date Updated:
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        Manuel Muñoz is the author of two short story collections, the most recent of which, The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, was a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. He teaches creative writing at the university of Arizona in Tucson, is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, and in 2008 was awarded the prestigious Whiting Writers' Award. Find him online at manuel-munoz.com.

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shortDescription

Bakersfield, California, in the late 1950s is a dusty, quiet town too far from Los Angeles to share that city's energy yet close enough to Hollywood to fill its citizens with the kinds of dreams they discover in the darkness of the movie theater. For Teresa, a young, aspiring singer who works at a shoe store, dreams lie in the music her mother shared with her, plaintive songs of love and longing. In Dan Watson, the most desirable young man in Bakersfield, she believes she has found someone to help her realize those dreams.

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title
What You See in the Dark
fullDescription

Bakersfield, California, in the late 1950s is a dusty, quiet town too far from Los Angeles to share that city's energy yet close enough to Hollywood to fill its citizens with the kinds of dreams they discover in the darkness of the movie theater. For Teresa, a young, aspiring singer who works at a shoe store, dreams lie in the music her mother shared with her, plaintive songs of love and longing. In Dan Watson, the most desirable young man in Bakersfield, she believes she has found someone to help her realize those dreams.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from January 17, 2011
        Muñoz, the author of two short story collections (The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue and Zigzagger), uses the second-person voice to draw the reader into his stellar first novel. In 1959, the Director (i.e., Alfred Hitchcock) arrives in Bakersfield, Calif., to film Psycho, along with the Actress (i.e., Janet Leigh), who's struggling to get a handle on the character she will portray. Providing counterpoint to the events surrounding the making of the iconic Hollywood film, including the search for a motel to serve as the exterior of the Bates Motel, is the story of locals Dan Watson and Teresa Garza, whose doomed love affair ends in murder. The author brilliantly presents the Actress's inner thoughts, while he handles the violence with a subtlety worthy of Hitchcock himself. The lyrical prose and sensitive portrayal of the crime's ripple effect in the small community elevate this far beyond the typical noir. 10-city author tour.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2011

        What's Hitchcock's Psycho got to do with a murder in a small California city? Not much, but the friction between them drives this refreshingly innovative first novel. 

        Muñoz returns to the Valley, the setting of his fine story collection The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue (2007): Bakersfield, 1959. Dan Watson is the handsomest guy in town. His mother Arlene is a waitress and motel owner. Dan is seen around with a Mexican store clerk. With his encouragement, she sings under a spotlight at a cantina. Then, shockingly, it's all over. Teresa (we learn her name from the cemetery marker) is found battered to death outside her apartment, and Dan is a fugitive from justice. Cut to the Actress (an unnamed Janet Leigh) in Bakersfield for some exterior shots. She's thinking about her character, a love-struck secretary who's stolen money to facilitate her affair. Can she retain audience sympathy? It's a strait-laced era, and Muñoz captures it brilliantly, as he progresses to the notorious shower scene while constantly circling back to the Bakersfield murder. What's striking is the pinpoint clarity of the Actress's death (the silhouette behind the shower curtain; the knife; the scream) compared to the details of Teresa's murder, a blurry conjecture. While Hollywood fabricates stories every day, gossipy Bakersfield is no slouch either: If you don't know the story, make it up. Muñoz follows behind to set the record straight. He leaves Tom as a silhouette. Teresa we get to know better; she dismisses a humble Mexican suitor, dazzled by Tom and her first glimpse of show business. However, it is Arlene who takes center stage. The climax comes when she surprises Tom making his post-murder getaway. What does it mean to be the mother of a killer? Drawing on his compassion for the beaten down, the author provides an unbearably poignant answer. 

        Muñoz has upended the conventional crime novel, lauding a cinematic master while downplaying his own crime scene and concentrating on a secondary victim. Nice work.

        (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2010

        Following an award-winning story collection (The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue), Munoz once again mines the familiar small farm towns of California's Central Valley. Set in Bakersfield in the Fifties, this solid debut novel is filled with characters with big dreams and equally big disappointments. Teresa Garza, abandoned as a teenager by her mother, longs to be poised, not lonely, not without money. One of the fieldworkers in town for harvest teaches her to play guitar. Despite his kind attentions, she prefers handsome bartender Dan Watson and sings and plays the guitar at his cantina. Dan's mother, Arlene, doesn't like Teresa but has her own problems; her husband ran off to Texas, and her brother went to prison. Now Dan has disappeared just as her motel business declines owing to the new interstate. In an overlapping story, a movie crew arrives from Los Angeles to start filming at Arlene's motel. The director hopes to build his reputation on one riveting shower scene. Sadly, the characters ignore the hard-edged truths of their narrow lives, and no one really escapes. VERDICT Munoz offers a thoughtful, intelligent drama, while touching on characters' tragedies in understated ways. An eloquent novel sure to please readers of literary fiction.--Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO

        Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2011
        Muoz (The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, 2007) has hit upon a killer premise: the making of Psycho (with appearances by the actress and the director) set against the real-life murder of a young Latina singer in Bakersfield. The two stories come together in the beginning, when the actress and the director visit Bakersfield, scouting locations that could be used for the external shots of the Bates Motel. They find one, but the owner turns them down, miffed that the actress refused to acknowledge who she was earlier in the day, when she ate at the local diner. With that thin filament connecting the plots, Muoz expertly jumps from the making of the Hitchcock filmincluding, of course the shower scene, as experienced by the actressto the sad story of the small-town murder and the lives of the locals who were affected by the crime. Mood connects the two stories, that sense of melancholy foreboding that lurked behind so many 1950s noir films, and Muoz expertly evokes the way quiet desperation can explode into life-altering violence.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

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