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Correct Pronunciation of Dávila
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Title: 142 Ostriches
Author: April Dávila
Publication Date: February 25, 2019
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Literary fiction
Retail price: 15.95
Available in: ebook | trade paperback | audio
Set against the unexpected splendor of an ostrich ranch in the California desert, April Dávila’s beautifully written debut conjures an absorbing and compelling heroine in a story of courage, family and forgiveness.
In 142 Words
142 Ostriches follows 22-year-old Tallulah Jones, who wants nothing more than to escape her life working on the family’s ostrich ranch in the Mojave Desert. But when her grandmother dies under questionable circumstances, Tallulah finds herself the sole heir of the business just days before the birds mysteriously stop laying eggs.
Guarding the secret of the suddenly barren birds, Tallulah endeavors to force through a sale of the ranch, a task that is complicated by the arrival of her extended family. Their designs on the property, and deeply rooted dysfunction, threaten Tallulah’s ambitions and eventually her life.
With no options left, Tallulah must pull her head out of the sand and face the 50-year legacy of a family in turmoil: the reality of her grandmother’s almost certain suicide, her mother’s alcoholism, her uncle’s covetous anger, and the 142 ostriches whose lives are in her hands.
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Buzz Book Selection
142 Ostriches was selected by Publisher’s Marketplace as one of their Buzz Books for the 2019 Fall/Winter season. In their own words:
…each Buzz Books collection is filled with early looks at titles that will go on to top the bestseller lists and critics’ “best of the year” lists.
Navigating the aftermath of her grandmother’s death is a defining, tumultuous time for Tallulah, which Dávila presents with empathy and insight. How do we make hard choices in the face of uncertainty? What drives behavior, particularly harmful behavior? Readers will be fascinated by the ostriches and the desert, both of which Tallulah believes she wants to escape. Tension mounts in every chapter, and when the difficult forces converge in the satisfying climax, Tallulah discovers clarity. This is an enjoyable, winning, interesting novel for readers of many backgrounds.– Booklist, Starred Review
A twisty, warmhearted story of family, community and fate, a thoroughgoing delight.– Janet Fitch
Chimes of a Lost Cathedral
142 Ostriches is unlike anything I’ve read before… In Davila’s skillful hands, the desert comes alive.– Amy Meyerson
Bookshop of Yesterdays
April Dávila has made the rare thing: The perfect meeting of plot and character.– Katie Williams
Tell The Machine Goodnight
More praise for the book can be found here: What People Are Saying.
The 80-word bio:
April Dávila received her undergraduate degree from Scripps College before going on to study writing at USC. She was a resident of the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in 2017 and attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers in 2018. In 2019 her short story “Ultra” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A fourth-generation Californian, she lives in La Cañada Flintridge with her husband and two children. She is a practicing Buddhist, half-hearted gardener, and occasional runner. 142 Ostriches is her first novel.
The 430-word version:
April Dávila is a fourth generation Californian. Her mother’s family established a dairy farm in the Sacramento Valley in the 1880s and her father’s family came from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. She has lived briefly in places as far flung as Ecuador, the Caribbean, and the Marshall Islands, but never found anywhere she loves more than California.
Dávila studied marine biology at Scripps College with the aim of entering a steady, traditional profession, but her career as a scientist fizzled when she realized how much time she had to spend in the lab. Set adrift after graduation she made all of the obligatory, early-twenty-something poor choices (details forthcoming in the memoir she plans to write… never), but she did manage to do one thing well: she chose a wonderfully creative and super supportive partner to build her life with.
In 2007, while unemployed, pregnant, and living in student housing at Stanford (while her husband finished up his masters degree), Dávila began writing short stories. She had always loved writing, but never before considered it something she could do for a living. After her husband graduated and their daughter was born, they moved to the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and she attended the Masters of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. She was three months pregnant with their second child when she graduated.
After two years of freelancing as a copywriter, she was hired full-time at a boutique marketing firm and then later as a technical writer at an engineering company. To keep writing fiction, she bought a coffee machine with a timer and set it to start brewing at 4:50 every morning so that she could write in the wee hours before the rest of the family woke. This went on for years.
In 2016 she quit her job to write full time. In 2017 her blog was listed by Writer’s Digest as one of the Best 101 Websites for Writers. In January of 2018 she finished her debut novel, 142 Ostriches, and found representation with Joel Gotler of the Intellectual Property Group. She is an attendee of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and past resident at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. Her novel is forthcoming from Kensington Books in February of 2020.
Currently, Dávila writes from her home in La Cañada Flintridge, a small town just north of Los Angeles. She is a practicing Buddhist and is currently studying to be a mindfulness instructor. She is a runner, swimmer, and half-hearted gardener. Together, she and her husband are doing their best to raise two hilarious, wicked-smart kids.