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The Perishing by Natashia Deón
Speculative fiction

The Perishing

Early Release

by Natashia Deón

Quick take

Set in a hazy 1930s LA, this genre-bending tale of a pioneering journalist explores shifts in time, identity, and love.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural

    Supernatural

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

Why I love it

Shay Mitchell
Shay Mitchell is an actor and entrepreneur. She has appeared in the hit shows Pretty Little Liars, You , and most recently Dollface.

This book has been blowing me away. The premise—and 1930s LA historic setting—piqued my interest, but Natashia Deón’s writing really brings it home! As someone who does not usually gravitate towards stories with undertones of fantasy, this book does it so tastefully that it’s hard to put it down.

The Perishing begins with a young woman who wakes up partially-clothed in an alley. Her name is Lou and she has almost no memory of how she ended up there, or really any other parts of her past. Lou is haunted by visions of a face that she begins obsessively drawing trying to put the pieces of her life together. Eventually she meets a man in a boxing gym whose face matches the one from her visions, and they quickly realize this is not the first time their paths have crossed. Together they work to uncover the mystery of Lou’s past. While this story unfolds, we also watch Lou become the LA Times’s first female journalist, breaking incredible stories of crime and greed in Prohibition-era California that makes you feel like you are right there with her… well, almost.

This novel defied all of my expectations. The story itself was so enjoyable, but the exploration of the ever shifting meaning of being a black woman in America draws renewed attention to important topics of racial equality that we continue to battle today.

Pick this one up and I promise... you will not be able to put it down!

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Synopsis

Lou, a young Black woman, wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles, nearly naked and with no memory of how she got there or where she's from, only a fleeting sense that this isn't the first time she's found herself in similar circumstances. Taken in by a caring foster family, Lou dedicates herself to her education while trying to put her mysterious origins behind her. She'll go on to become the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times, but Lou's extraordinary life is about to become even more remarkable. When she befriends a firefighter at a downtown boxing gym, Lou is shocked to realize that though she has no memory of ever meeting him she's been drawing his face since her days in foster care.

Increasingly certain that their paths have previously crossed--perhaps even in a past life--and coupled with unexplainable flashes from different times that have been haunting her dreams, Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal sent to this place and time for a very important reason, one that only others like her will be able to explain. Relying on her journalistic training and with the help of her friends, Lou sets out to investigate the mystery of her existence and make sense of the jumble of lifetimes calling to her from throughout the ages before her time runs out for good.

Set against the rich historical landscape of Depression-era Los Angeles, The Perishing charts a course through a changing city confronting racism, poverty, and the drumbeat of a coming war for one miraculous woman whose fate is inextricably linked to the city she comes to call home.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of The Perishing.
Speculative fiction
  • The Perishing