From author and filmmaker Sandi Tan, director of the acclaimed documentary Shirkers, comes a novel about a neighborhood of immigrants, seekers, lovers, and lurkers.
The residents of Santa Claus Lane do their best to stay out of each other’s way, but desire, fury and mischief too often propel these suburban neighbors to collide. Precocious Korean American sisters Mira and Rosemary find their world rocked by a suicide, and they must fight to keep their home; a charismatic and creepy drama teacher grooms his students; a sardonic gay horror novelist finds that aging is more terrifying than any monster; and a white hippie mom and her adopted Vietnamese daughter realize that their anger binds them rather than pushes them apart. Lurkers is an homage to the rangy beauty of Los Angeles and the surprising power that we have to change the lives of those around us.
Filmmaker and author Tan's ambitious second novel (after The Black Isle) is an ensemble affair set mostly on Santa Claus Lane in Alta Vista, a community north of Los Angeles. In the Park home, mother Beverly and teen daughters Rosemary and Mira cope with the suicide of family patriarch Kee Hyun. Meanwhile, their eccentric author neighbor, Raymond van der Holt, beefs up his home security system and wonders if his house is haunted; and across the street, Kate Ireland's reunion with a childhood friend, nicknamed Bluto, results in an unexpected pregnancy. Beverly's plan to move her family back to Korea is met with anger from Mira, who tries to sabotage the efforts, and Rosemary, herself caught in a love triangle with a classmate and their drama teacher. Raymond, meanwhile, begins tracking thieves around the neighborhood, and Kate's adoptive mother, Mary-Sue, moves in to help with Kate's pregnancy, though Kate keeps the identity of the father a secret after Bluto boasts to her about dating a 15-year-old girl. Tan carefully builds Alta Vista's intersecting lives and smoothly taps into three generations of voices as the various threads eventually converge, though a ludicrous finale almost sinks the ship. Still, Tan's powers of observation make this outing worthwhile.