Los Angeles native Brando Skyhorse explores the neighborhood where he grew up in his debut, THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK. The deeply personal novel offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the men and women who struggle to maintain or lose their ethnic identity in the pursuit of the American dream.
Skyhorse builds the vibrant community of Echo Park with the different voices that narrate each story-like chapter. Revolving around a random shooting that claims the life of a young girl, each chapter offers a unique perspective on the incident through the tales of characters that grew up in, moved to, or fled the neighborhood, such as Hector, a day laborer who witnesses a murder that pits his morality against his illegal status; his ex-wife Felicia, who narrowly survives a shooting and lands a cleaning job in a Hollywood Hills house; and young Aurora, who journeys through her now gentrified childhood neighborhood to discover her own history. Aurora closes out the book, drawing together the themes of homecoming that weave throughout the novel.
Born and raised in Echo Park, CA, Skyhorse is a graduate of Stanford University and the MFA Writers’ Workshop program at UC Irvine. He spent a decade as a book editor in New York before penning his debut novel. His sophomore effort, Take This Man: A Memoir, delves into his experience growing up with five stepfathers, four of whom were con men. The decision to write a memoir as his follow-up was born out of questions raised while writing Madonnas, most notably Skyhorse’s own unconscious denial of his Mexican heritage.
Katia Juanita | Staff Writer