Edan Lepucki is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels California and Woman No. 17, as well as the editor of Mothers Before: Stories and Portraits of our Mothers As We Never Saw Them. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Esquire Magazine, and The Cut, among other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Edan Lepucki will be in conversation with Lydia Kiesling in City Lights’s Poetry Room on Tuesday, September 12 at 6:00pm PT to celebrate the publication of their new books Mobility: A Novel, published by Zando Projects, and Time’s Mouth: A Novel, published by Counterpoint Press. Register here!
Where are you writing to us from?
I’m writing to you from my couch in my living room, in Northeast Los Angeles.
What is bringing you joy right now, personally/artistically/habitually?
This mint tea I’m drinking, this dark chocolate bar I’m eating. The bath I’m about to take. The salsa verde over grilled zucchini and pork tenderloin that my husband made for dinner. An iced cortado. A good gin martini. The poem “Ode to the Hymen” by Sharon Olds. Glimpsing a coyote from my kitchen window. Listening to Big Thief songs (“Mythological Beauty”; “Vampire Empire”) on repeat. More generally, the wacked out, original stuff that my three kids say and do brings me daily joy.
Which writers, artists, and others influence your work in general, and this book, specifically?
Always: Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Egan, Carolyn See, Phoebe Bridgers, Frank Ocean, Elinor Carucci.
This book: Octavia Butler, Edward P. Jones, Ann Patchett, Kate Bush, Joy Division, Ed Ruscha.
What books are you reading right now and would you recommend any to others?
I’m reading The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz, a big juicy novel about an unhappy family, and The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at The End of Sight by Andrew Leland, a funny and informative investigation into disability. I recommend both of them heartily.
If you opened a bookstore, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?
Oh, well, I worked full time as a bookseller so I know how hard of a job it is! Do I want that hard job? I’m not sure! Okay, okay, in my fantasy my bookstore is called Italics Mine (which was the name of my Tumblr and my current substack), and it would be located in Umbria, Italy. My bestsellers would be in Italian, of course, but the English selection would be quite robust (despite the terrible sales). I’d be in the back with a leg of prosciutto.