In this love story of impossible odds, award-winning writer Tim Z. Hernandez weaves a rich and visionary portrait of Bea Franco, the real woman behind famed American author Jack Kerouac's The Mexican Girl. Set against an ominous backdrop of California in the 1940s, deep in the agricultural heartland of the Great Central Valley, "Manana Means Heaven" reveals the desperate circumstances that lead a married woman to an illicit affair with an aspiring young writer traveling across the United States.
When they meet, Franco is a migrant farmworker with two children and a failing marriage, living with poverty, violence, and the looming threat of deportation, while the college boy yearns to one day make a name for himself in the writing world. The significance of their romance poses vastly different possibilities and consequences.
"Manana Means Heaven" deftly combines fact and fiction to pull back the veil on one of literature's most mysterious and evocative characters. Inspired by Franco's love letters to Kerouac and Hernandez's interviews with Franco, now in her nineties and living in relative obscurity, the novel brings this lost gem of a story out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
About the Author
Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning writer and performer originally from California. His debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday, 2004), received the 2006 American Book Award, and his debut novel, Breathing, in Dust (Texas Tech University Press, 2010), was featured on NPR's All Things Considered. It went on to receive the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in Fiction, and was a finalist for the California Book Award. In 2011, Hernandez was named one of sixteen New American Poets by the Poetry Society of America. He is a frequent visiting author at Universities and institutions across the U.S. and has performed in venues such as L.A.'s Getty Center, Stanford University, Dixon Experimental Theater in New York City, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He currently lives in Colorado where he works for the Center for the Book and teaches fiction at Naropa University.