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Vroman’s Presents New York Times Bestselling Author Anthony Marra in Conversation with John Horn, of KPCC’s The Frame

Published on Aug 9, 2022

Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena features fiction writer Anthony Marra, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Tsar of Love and Techno” and “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” as he discusses his new book “Mercury Pictures Presents,” on Wednesday, Aug. 10, starting at 7 p.m. 

He will be in conversation with John Horn, host of KPCC’s “The Frame.” 

“Mercury Pictures Presents” is the epic tale of a brilliant woman who must reinvent herself to survive, moving from Mussolini’s Italy to 1940s Los Angeles – a timeless story of love, deceit, and sacrifice. 

Like many before her, Maria Lagana has come to Hollywood to outrun her past. Born in Rome, where every Sunday her father took her to the cinema instead of church, Maria immigrates with her mother to Los Angeles after a childhood transgression leads to her father’s arrest. 

Fifteen years later, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, Maria is an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, trying to keep her personal and professional lives from falling apart. Her mother won’t speak to her. Her boss, a man of many toupees, has been summoned to Washington by congressional investigators. Her boyfriend, a virtuoso Chinese American actor, can’t escape the studio’s narrow typecasting. And the studio itself, Maria’s only home in exile, teeters on the verge of bankruptcy.

Written with intelligence, wit, and an exhilarating sense of possibility, “Mercury Pictures Presents” spans many moods and tones, from the heartbreaking to the ecstatic. It is a love letter to life’s bit players, a panorama of an era that casts a long shadow over our own, and a tour de force by a novelist whose work The Washington Post calls “a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.” 

Masks are strongly encouraged for this event. By visiting Vroman’s in-person event, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. 

Attendance is free. 

For more information, call (626) 449-5320 or visit

Vroman’s Bookstore is at 695 E. Colorado Blvd. 

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