Sept. 12th: Don’t Miss Christian Kiefer reading Phantoms

Yuba Lit Presents: Christian Kiefer reads and discusses Phantoms


Years after both wars, a Vietnam veteran named John Wilson begins to piece together the story of Ray Takahashi, a young Japanese American soldier who fought in World War II while his family was forced to abandon their Placer County farm for an internment camp. What sins and mysteries are the Takahashis and their former neighbors, the Wilsons, hiding?

Of Kiefer’s latest novel, a starred review from Kirkus raves: “It’s a complex narrative structure, but this allows Kiefer to constantly overlay past and present and to recognize, through John, the cycles in which his character, and in fact the country, remains trapped—cycles of racism, cycles of war, and cycles of young men who return home guilty of crimes, the full ramifications of which they couldn’t possibly understand . . . It will break your heart, and in the breaking, fill you with bittersweet but luminous joy.”

Hear acclaimed Auburn novelist Kiefer read and discuss his deeply researched new book—and ask him a question of your own during the Q and A.

Plus: Bring a poem or a page of your own and draw a raffle ticket to read in Yuba Lit’s famous opening audience flash round! Five audience members will be chosen.

Christian Kiefer’s previous novels are The Animals and The Infinite Tides, and a novella, One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide.


Thursday, September 12th, 7 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30

The Wild Eye Pub, 535 Mill St., Grass Valley

No-host bar and dinner available

Tickets: $10 at the door, $8 in advance, available at

Special Discount to Janet Fitch, and–Save the Date for Christian Kiefer September 12th!

Dear literature-loving friends,
I hope you enjoyed the benefit reading with Robert Hass, Sharon Olds, 2019 Pulitzer winner Forrest Gander and memorable others as much as I did. It was a particular joy to reconnect with Yuba Lit regulars at the event.
Another special literary opportunity is coming up in Sacramento on Friday, July 26th–and we’ve got a special discount for it. “An Evening with Janet Fitch” at Sacramento Stories on Stage will feature the bestselling novelist (you probably know her much-lauded White Oleander) sharing her newest book, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, in conversation with Capital Public Radio’s Beth Ruyak. Actress Katie Rubin will read passages from Fitch’s novel–and Nevada City’s own Beaucoup Chapeaux will offer music! The trip to Sacramento will be very much worth it. And if you use the code YUBALIT19 at checkout, you will get 10 percent off tickets.
Here’s the link to more information and ticket sales:
Meanwhile, exciting news: Save the date for Yuba Lit with Auburn novelist Christian Kiefer reading and discussing his new novel Phantoms on Thursday, September 12th. It’s an eloquent and all-too-timely story of Japanese internment and its aftermath in Placer County. Read on below for Publisher’s Weekly’s rave review. Venue into and more about this September Yuba Lit coming soon.
Yours in the love of literature,
Yuba Lit founder
From Publisher’s Weekly:
Kiefer’s sweeping novel (after One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place to Hide) examines the ways war shapes the lives of ordinary people. Upon returning to Placer County, Calif., after serving in Vietnam, John Frazier is at loose ends: 21 and gripped by recollections of violence and a drug habit he’s trying to kick, he’s unable to imagine his future. But when he runs into his long-lost aunt Evelyn Wilson, John is improbably sucked into the mystery of what happened to Ray Takahashi, Evelyn’s Japanese-American former neighbor, who disappeared soon after returning from WWII. With John in tow, Evelyn meets with Ray’s mother to reveal a secret she’s kept for 26 years—that, unbeknownst to Ray, Evelyn’s daughter, Helen, gave birth to his baby after he came back from the war. At Evelyn’s insistence, Helen gave up the infant to an orphanage partly due to the “disgrace” of a mixed-race child. As John grapples with his own ghosts, he investigates Ray’s life: his idyllic childhood growing up with the Wilson children, his romance with Helen, the Takahashi family’s transfer to an internment camp and the prejudice they encountered. After Evelyn exposes her secret, the sinister forces underlying Ray’s disappearance begin rising closer to the surface. Kiefer’s story sheds light on the prejudice violence ignites and on the Japanese-American experience during a fraught period of American history, and makes for engaging and memorable novel.