In this thoughtful, mesmerizing tale with echoes of Station Eleven, 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.
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.