All Stories are Love Stories
In this thoughtful, mesmerizing tale, the author of An Uncommon Education follows a group of survivors thrown together in the aftermath of two major earthquakes that strike San Francisco within an hour of each other—an achingly beautiful and lyrical novel about the power of nature, the resilience of the human spirit, and the enduring strength of love.
On Valentine’s Day, two major earthquakes strike San Francisco within the same hour, devastating the city and its primary entry points, sparking fires throughout, and leaving its residents without power, gas, or water.
Among the disparate survivors whose fates will become intertwined are Max, a man who began the day with birthday celebrations tinged with regret; Vashti, a young woman who has already buried three of the people she loved most . . . but cannot forgot Max, the one man who got away; and Gene, a Stanford geologist who knows far too much about the terrifying earthquakes that have damaged this beautiful city and irrevocably changed the course of their lives.
As day turns to night and fires burn across the city, Max and Vashti—trapped beneath the rubble of the collapsed Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium—must confront each other and face the truth about their past, while Gene embarks on a frantic search through the realization of his worst nightmares to find his way back to his ailing lover and their home.
And by morning, nothing will be the same.
Percer’s gripping, poignant second novel (after An Uncommon Education) serves as an unconventional love letter to San Francisco. Max begins his 34th birthday in a melancholy mood; he’s spent much of the past 14 years hung up on his high-school sweetheart Vashti, who abruptly broke off their engagement to marry someone else. Coincidentally, Vashti, now widowed and back in San Francisco, seeks Max out at the theater where he works to wish him a happy birthday and possibly reconnect. But before they get a proper reunion, the city is hit by a series of earthquakes. Trapped in the rubble of the theater, Max and Vashti spend a harrowing night waiting for rescue and finding closure from the tragedy that tore them apart when they were young. Across town, Stanford geologist Gene is consumed with his need to get from Palo Alto to North Beach and his sick partner—and haunted by the knowledge that he failed to predict this disaster. San Francisco’s unique architecture, diverse neighborhoods, and colorful residents are vividly brought to life. The intertwined love stories in this remarkably drawn setting will keep readers absorbed until the final, tear-jerking moments. (Mar.)
I’m 100 pages into Elizabeth Percer’s All Stories Are Love Stories, and the writing is so good, it makes my stomach hurt. The premise is fantastic, too. The book opens with the reader being told that an enormous earthquake is going to hit modern-day San Francisco in seven hours, fifty-two minutes, and thirteen seconds—and a second massive quake will hit shortly after. But the impact (ha!) so far is not the upcoming disaster but the thoughts and lives of two long-estranged lovers and one almost-assistant-professor. It’s being billed as a book “with echoes of Station Eleven,” but so far it’s grabbing me much more than Station Eleven did, and the quake hasn’t even hit yet. I can’t wait to finish it.
Adrian Ling from Omnivoracious – The Amazon Book Review
Earthquake: California 1906
Elizabeth Percer is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and has twice been honored by the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. She received a BA in English from Wellesley and a PhD in arts education from Stanford University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship for the National Writing Project at UC Berkeley. She lives in California with her husband and three children. All Stories Are Love Stories is her second novel.