SUBURBAN SOULS, a novel by Maria Espinosa


Suburban Souls Book Cover

Click image to buy

Against the vibrant and liberated backdrop of 1970’s San Francisco, a husband and wife–both Jewish immigrants indelibly traumatized by their childhoods in Nazi Germany–face the turbulence of an increasingly sterile marriage. Saul, an emotionally withdrawn scientist, escapes into New Age mysticism with Shivaya, a self-styled clairvoyant Danish healer. Gerda drifts in and out of psychiatric care as her loosening grip on reality leaves its mark on their teenage daughter, Hannah. In this unflinching portrait of a woman’s downward spiral into the nightmare of modern domesticity, Maria Espinosa weaves a deceptively simple tale about the terror of abandonment and the mysterious nature of suffering.

“The first words peel away any reasonable exterior this family might have. . . Espinosa’s pitch-perfect writing doesn’t allow sugarcoating. Our own dark places recognize the depth of human suffering as never before. . .”
–CLIVE MATSON, Author of Let the Crazy Child Write:

“A moving novel telling a story of generations of suffering caused by the Holocaust.”
–Susan Griffin, author of A Chorus of Stones.

“A psychologically intense portrait of the survivors of World War II. . . .Their repressed guilt and longings explode. . . as they strive to  make peace with their traumatic memories.”
–Rosa Martha Villarreal, author of The Stillness of Love and Exile

From Suburban Souls:

Mirages rose on the endless concrete, shining glimmers that vanished as the car loomed closer. Air coming through the side window ruffled her hair, as golden as the fabled land of California. “My skin is so dry in this desert air,” said Gerda. He patted her hand. “You’re beautiful,” Saul reassured her.

Huge clouds began to cover the desert sky. Raindrops splattered against the windshield. She thought of how they had first met on a rainy day in Chicago in a crowded cafeteria. “May I sit down?” he asked. He gestured to the empty chair opposite her. “Yes,” she said. Her beauty lured him, and for her part she was drawn to his air of quiet strength and the kindness in his dark eyes.

Rain came down harder. A strong wind rose. Rain blurred the desert landscape. Sparse bushes swayed in the wind. The car sped on towards the unknown where they would build their lives, far from grimy city streets and burdens of the past.