The Short Version…
Tatjana Soli is a novelist and short story writer. Her bestselling debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, winner of the James Tait Black Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2010, and finalist for the LA Times Book Award among other honors. Her second book, The Forgetting Tree, was a New York TimesNotable Book for 2012. Her third novel, The Last Good Paradise, was a Millions Most Anticipated Book for 2015. Her stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Boulevard, and The Sun. Her work has been twice listed in the 100 Distinguished Stories in Best American Short Stories. She lives in the Monterey Peninsula area of California.
Her debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, was published in 2010 and was reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Book Review. It went on to become a NYT Bestseller, win awards and has a still-growing readership. It tells the story of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam war. Tim O’Brien, National Book Award-winning author of The Things They Carried, wrote of it: “Set amid the twin infernos of Cambodia and Vietnam in the early 1970’s The Lotus Eaters draws the reader into a haunting world of war, betrayal, courage, obsession, and love.” Robert Stone, NBA-winning author of Dog Soldiers, wrote “…a vivid and memorable evocation of wartime Vietnam.” Selected as a New York Times Notable Book, it went on to win the James Tait Black Prize, the oldest award in the UK, and also was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award.
Soli’s second, The Forgetting Tree, was published in 2012. Jane Smiley, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres, reviewing it in the New York Times, wrote The Forgetting Tree was “Daring… haunting… even a remote citrus ranch can be a crossroads where cultures collide, and those collisions can be life-changing for everyone involved.” The story centers around Claire Baumsarg, who refuses to leave her beloved citrus ranch even after tragedy strikes, and her relationship to Minna, the beautiful, mysterious girl who cares for her. The Daily Beast wrote, “Soli’s prose is reminiscent of Eudora Welty’s. Like that writer, Soli’s sentences are tied to the land.” The Forgetting Tree also had the honor to be named a New York Times Notable Book.
Soli’s third novel, The Last Good Paradise, was published in 2015. A Millions Most Anticipated Book, the Michigan Daily writes, “With elegant prose that can swell into poetic intervals or sharp commentary, Soli presents a book that courses with flawed, colorful characters, lavish food descriptions (courtesy of a chef protagonist) and political intrigue. But beneath its lovely veneer is a book that confronts the American urge to escape.” It is the story of an LA power couple whose version of the American Dream is crumbling. They run away to a South Seas island in the remote Tuamotu Archipelago, and there meet an assorted group of self-exiled characters. Library Journal wrote, “The Novel has smart things to say about the frailty human relationships, the importance of responsibility to others, and whether its possible to be truly “off the grid” in modern society.”
The Removes, Soli’s fourth novel, will be published by Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar Strauss Giroux, in 2018. It tells the story of Libbie Custer, wife of the legendary General and Indian fighter George Armstrong Custer, interwoven with the account of a young girl taken by a Cheyenne war party and held in captivity for years, and the ways in which each woman is transformed by the addictive intensity of their experiences in the American frontier.