The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit (paperback)
In The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit Michael Zadoorian follows characters coming to terms with the past and the present in a broken city. Rusty, ornery, and down at the heels, Zadoorian’s characters have made the wrong choices, been worn down by bad news, or survived traumatic events, but like the city they live in, they are determined not to let tragedy and rotten luck define them. Rich with detail and brimming with feeling, Zadoorian’s deceptively simple stories lead readers into the inner lives of those making the best of their flawed surroundings and their own imperfections.
Zadoorian’s stories are drawn from the everyday events that come to define his characters’ lives. A woman responsible for putting down animals at a veterinary clinic travels to Mexico to stage a ritual for her victims, a veteran returns a flag stolen from a Japanese soldier he killed in World War II, an elderly couple takes a final road trip to a mystery spot out west, and a man spends his life waiting to inherit his parents’ kitschy 1960s furniture but instead sells it all. Characters also find their lives shaped by seemingly random occurrences, like the junk shop owner who must stop the stranger with a vendetta against him, the woman who becomes obsessed with her in-laws’ talking dog, and the urban spelunker who finds love and acceptance with a reader of his blog. Their close connection to Detroit also infuses Zadoorian’s stories with themes significant to the city, including issues of racial tension, political unease, and economic hardship.
Zadoorian’s writing throughout this collection is clear and vivid, never getting in the way of his characters or their stories. The unique but relatable characters and unexpected stories in The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit will appeal to all readers of fiction.
Michael Zadoorian is author of the novels The Leisure Seeker and Second Hand, which won the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s First Fiction award. His stories have appeared in Literary Review, American Short Fiction, Beloit Fiction Journal, North American Review, ARARAT, and the collection Detroit Noir.
“The stories in The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit begin on the west side before moving east and then downtown, a literary tour done with the admirable, offhand grace of the best guidebooks. Zadoorian knows the streets and side streets and alleyways of his city and its surround; better, he knows the humor, the sadness, and the sometimes hidden beauty of life in the Rust Belt, and he pins it down on the page with wonderful precision.”
— Paul Clements, author of Made in Detroit
“What can one say of Zadoorian—chronicler of the lost, of junk and detritus, of the second-hand and hand-me-down. The abandoned. The soon-to-be-no-more. There is such poetry in these stories. Such wry wit and sadness. Such despair and, oddly, hope. In The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, the city becomes a whole nation’s ruined Byzantium: destitute and still strangely desired. Lost. And found again.”
— Christopher T. Leland, professor of English at Wayne State University and author of Letting Loose
“The stories in Michael Zadoorian’s new collection, The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, represent the serrated leading edge of the Barthelmean aesthetic dictum of being on ‘the leading edge of the junk phenomenon.’ The prose here is a cacophonous chockablock collision with a no-nonsense nonsense knockout nominative wall of sound. This collection is stuffed with stuff.”
— Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and The Blue Guide to Indiana
“The stories in The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit give the reader such a deep and intimate vicarious journey, one would think that Zadoorian has had several past lives to draw on for material. As I read, I was always amazed to discover what lurked beneath them.”
— Luis Resto, Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer of “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile