Books Inc. Palo Alto proudly presents Paz Pardo, author of the critically acclaimed novel The Shamshine Blind!
Paz will be in conversation with writer & editor Yohanca Delgado!
Masks will be required for this event.
A beguiling blend of noir detective story and science fiction perfect for fans of Michael Chabon and Emily St. John Mandel, this unputdownable debut imagines a world where emotions have been weaponized, and a small-town law enforcement agent uncovers a conspiracy to take down what's left of American democracy.
In an alternate 2009, the United States has been a second-rate power for a quarter of a century, ever since Argentina's victory in the Falkland's War thanks to their development of "psychopigments." Created as weapons, these colorful chemicals can produce almost any human emotion upon contact, and they have been embraced in the US as both pharmaceutical cure-alls and popular recreational drugs. Black market traders illegally sell everything from Blackberry Purple (which causes terror) to Sunshine Yellow (which delivers happiness).
Psychopigment Enforcement Agent Kay Curtida works a beat in Daly City, just outside the ruins of San Francisco, chasing down smalltime crooks. But when an old friend shows up with a tantalizing lead on a career-making case, Curtida's humdrum existence suddenly gets a boost. Little does she know that this case will send her down a tangled path of conspiracy and lead to an overdue reckoning with her family and with the truth of her own emotions.
"In this fiercely intelligent and utterly original debut, Paz Pardo creates an alternate reality that speaks with eerie accuracy to our contemporary anxieties and conflicts. A page-turning mystery, a moving love story, and a technological thriller in one, The Shamshine Blind imagines a world where emotions have become deadly weapons, and a tenacious detective must reckon with her own past in order to find a way through." --Anna North, New York Times bestselling author of Outlawed
" The Shamshine Blind is a deadpan hilarious allegory for our times, in the classic style of Philip K. Dick and the other great social satirists of science fiction -- full of heart and sharp as a razor." --Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future
"Dark, witty, and wonderfully speculative . . . The Shamshine Blind reimagines the United States as a scarily familiar shadow of itself, a place where nothing can be trusted -- not even your own feelings. A rip-roaring, beautifully crafted mash-up of cop noir, sci-fi, and alt-history that left me dazzled by its prescience and literary zing." --Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
"Combining an alternate-history police procedural of the highest stakes with an examination of the authenticity of feelings in a world where emotions can literally be manufactured, The Shamshine Blind is inventive, suspenseful, and heartfelt." --Jane Pek, author of The Verifiers
"This science-fictional noir...brings a new twist to both parts of its equation, with the mystery and all its delicious red herrings set in a world not quite like the present...Highly recommended." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"High, high concept meets classic detective fiction... A heady, deep-dyed debut that suggests more thought-provoking work to come." -- Kirkus
Paz Pardo is an Argentine-American award-winning playwright and novelist. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. Raised in America, she currently lives in Argentina. The Shamshine Blind is her first novel. Find out more at PazSays.com.
Yohanca Delgado is an American writer. She won a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts grant. She graduated from Kenyon College, and American University. She was an editor at Folio, and Barrelhouse. She is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her work appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, The Believer, One Story, Time, and Story.