The Short Version…
Tatjana Soli is an American novelist and short-story writer. Her first novel, The Lotus Eaters (2010), won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize (UK), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize, was a New York Times Bestseller, and a New York Times 2010 Notable Book. Her second novel, The Forgetting Tree (2012) was a New York Times Notable Book. Soli’s third novel, The Last Good Paradise, was among The Millions “Most Anticipated” Books of 2015. Her fourth novel, The Removes, was published by Sarah Crichton, FSG in 2018 and has been named a New York Times Editor’s Choice as well as a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, the High Plains Book Award, the Willa Award, and named Best Fiction of 2019 by True West Magazine. Soli was longlisted for the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize honoring a mid-career writer.
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 was published by Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar Strauss Giroux in 2018. It was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The novel had the honor to be longlisted for the Chautauqua Prize and a finalist for the Willa Award. It was named Best Fiction of 2019 by True West Magazine and a finalist for the High Plains Book Award. In a starred review, Booklist wrote: “Epic, enthralling… With visceral, vibrant language, Soli paints a stark portrait of the violence, hardship, and struggles that characterized the American West.” Spanning the years of the first great settlement of the West, The Removes tells the intertwining stories of fifteen-year-old Anne Cummins, frontierswoman Libbie Custer, and Libbie’s husband, the Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer. Publisher’s Weekly wrote: The clash of cultures is Soli’s grand theme, and here she drives home her message that the winners are no more worthy than the losers, and that “not even brotherhood was enough to safeguard people who had what others coveted.”