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Friday, September 30, 2016

Author makes his book publishing debut with Echo Park as his inspiration

Brando Skyhorse has not visited Echo Park in a dozen years. The former Echo Park resident, who grew up on Portia Street and attended Logan Elementary school, is now a New York book editor. But his memories of the neighborhood and its Mexican American and immigrant residents serve as back drop for his first novel – The Madonnas of Echo Park – that will be published this June by Simon & Schuster. The 36-year-old editor and writer has also signed another deal for the publication of his memoir. The publication of a book by a major publishing house is a coup for any writer but even more so when you take into account that Skyhorse has never even been published in a literary magazine, according to a story in the New York Observer. Skyhorse, in an email, said The Madonnas of Echo Park is his effort to “reconcile my history of Echo Park with my understanding of where the neighborhood is now and may be headed next.”

Click on the link below for Skyhorse’s Echo Park memories.

My grandmother and grandfather bought a house on Portia Street in 1952 for $12,000. It remained in my family until 1998. In the almost half a century that our family lived in Echo Park we saw the neighborhood undergo a dazzling number of reinventions and cultural realignments. Like my mother before me, I went to Logan Street Elementary School, developed my first crushes at Pioneer Market on the beautiful blue-smocked cashiers, ate the delicious Carnitas platters at Barragan’s, bought my clothes next door at Gerry’s Department Store (now a 99 cent store) and roamed the streets for years with my grandmother who I looked at as kind of an honorary mayor of the area. And of course those endless summer days waiting for the paleta cart at Echo Park Lake.

I haven’t been back to Echo Park in twelve years and have heard detailed second hand accounts of the neighborhood’s latest transformation but have yet to see those changes for myself. My novel attempts to reconcile my history of Echo Park with my understanding of where the neighborhood is now and may be headed next. While my family may have faded from Echo Park’s consciousness, Echo Park hasn’t faded from mine. It has only grown stronger with time and I look forward to returning to Los Angeles in June to revisit the home that I carry with me wherever I go.”

“My grandmother and grandfather bought a house on Portia Street in 1952 for $12,000. It remained in my family until 1998. In the almost half a century that our family lived in Echo Park we saw the neighborhood undergo a dazzling number of reinventions and cultural realignments.


Photo by Eric Van De Brulle/Simon & Schuster



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One comment

  1. Read your book 2 or 3 months ago. I saw many references to what was but not a lot to what is. Two copies are floating around Echo Park now. So where is the book signing going to be?

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