Haslam's Valley (Paperback)
For those new to "the Bakersfield experience", let us initiate you by
stating that reading Haslam is a must. An Oildale native, his writings
always hearken back to his local roots. Armed with a Ph.D. in English,
he has been called "the quintessential California writer" and "the most
important writer to emerge from California's Central Valley since
Steinbeck". This 30-year retrospective of his work includes both fiction
and non-fiction and is a great jumping off point to become initiated in
"the Other California."
Fiction. Essays. Gerald Haslam picks up where Mark Twain left off in this career-spanning collection of stories and essays brimming with life--only here is Kern County instead of Calaveras, Oildale instead of Nevada City, a great alligator hunt instead of a celebrated jumping frog. And while Haslams's stories entertain, his essays, too, gesture at the sweeping diversity of the Central Valley, the innumerable cultures--both native and immigrant--and the richness of community found there. Haslam looks at problems of racism and a new social class he calls the "downwardly mobile," and he tackles environmental issues that plague the Valley--namely desertification and water scarcity. With an ear for local dialect and his feet firmly planted in his native soil, Halsam delivers wry stories and biting satire that secure him a place in the pantheon of great American writers and earn Oildale a spot on the literary map.