Book Spotlight: At The Edge Of The Haight by Katherine Seligman

Release Date: January 19, 2021

About The Book:

The 10th Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Awarded by Barbara Kingsolver

Maddy Donaldo, homeless at twenty, has made a family of sorts in the dangerous spaces of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She knows whom to trust, where to eat, when to move locations, and how to take care of her dog. It’s the only home she has. When she unwittingly witnesses the murder of a young homeless boy and is seen by the perpetrator, her relatively stable life is upended. Suddenly, everyone from the police to the dead boys’ parents want to talk to Maddy about what she saw. As adults pressure her to give up her secrets and reunite with her own family before she meets a similar fate, Maddy must decide whether she wants to stay lost or be found. Against the backdrop of a radically changing San Francisco, a city which embraces a booming tech economy while struggling to maintain its culture of tolerance, At the Edge of the Haight follows the lives of those who depend on makeshift homes and communities.

As judge Hillary Jordan says, “This book pulled me deep into a world I knew little about, bringing the struggles of its young, homeless inhabitants—the kind of people we avoid eye contact with on the street—to vivid, poignant life. The novel demands that you take a close look. If you knew, could you still ignore, fear, or condemn them? And knowing, how can you ever forget?”

About The Author:

Katherine Seligman is a journalist and author who lives in San Francisco. She has been a writer at the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, a reporter at the San Francisco Examiner and a correspondent at USA Today. Her work has appeared in Redbook, Life, Money, California Magazine, the anthology Fresh Takes and elsewhere.

Book Blurbs:

“What a read this is, right from its startling opening scene. But even more than plot, it’s the richly layered details that drive home a lightning bolt of empathy. To read At the Edge of the Haight is to live inside the everyday terror and longings of a world that most of us manage not to see, even if we walk past it on sidewalks every day. At a time when more Americans than ever find themselves at the edge of homelessness, this book couldn’t be more timely.”—Barbara Kingsolver, author of Unsheltered and The Poisonwood Bible

“Through careful observation, Seligman seeks to humanize a community that is often ignored and misunderstood . . . Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellweather Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, At the Edge of the Haight is a thoughtful look at modern homelessness.”—Booklist

“[An] intense, personal drama about wayward lives positioned between redemption and disaster. Putting a human face on those who live at society’s margins, At the Edge of the Haight is an intimate novel whose young characters struggle for survival and a little bit of dignity.—Foreword Reviews

“Seligman is to be commended for an insightful portrayal of homelessness . . . heartfelt . . . brave.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Seligman has a strong sense of the city and of the challenges faced by the homeless. [Her] portrayal of life as a homeless young person is immersive.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] gripping debut novel, At the Edge of the Haight explores a community on the edge of a historic setting and on the edge of getting by, with a compelling protagonist and an array of problems to wrestle with . . . In this quietly compassionate novel, a young homeless woman stumbles onto a crime scene on the edge of Haight-Ashbury, and eventually reconsiders how she got there.”—Shelf Awareness

“A terrific novel, half murder-mystery, half a tale of growing up. The heroine and her friends are unique in my reading experience—homeless young people living in Golden Gate Park, with their own community and their own rules—and their story is suspenseful and touching throughout.”—Scott Turow

“At the Edge of the Haight brims with empathy for the overlooked and the underserved. It’s a deep, dark, and necessary look into lives often discarded and disregarded—an urgent and important read and a startling debut.”—Ivy Pochoda, author of These Women

“This book pulled me deep into a world I knew little about, bringing the struggles of its young, homeless inhabitants—the kind of people we avoid eye contact with on the street—to vivid, poignant life. The novel demands that you take a close look. If you knew, could you still ignore, fear or condemn them? And knowing, how can you ever forget?”—Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound   

“I love Maddy Donaldo. I can’t wait for you to meet her. Not since Carson McCullers’s Frankie Addams have I seen a character so defined by her deep dualism—an electric desire to be both invisible and seen, free and bonded.”—Mesha Maren, author of Sugar Run

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