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Palo Alto

Palo Alto

Stories

Now a “provocative” and “impressive” (Variety) film from director Gia Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughter)—starring Emma Roberts, James Franco, Nat Wolff, and Val Kilmer—the fiction debut from James Franco that Vogue called “compelling and gutsy.”

James Franco’s story collection traces the lives of a group of teenagers as they experiment with vices of all kinds, struggle with their families and one another, and succumb to self-destructive, often heartless nihilism. In “Lockheed” a young woman’s summer—spent working a dull internship—is suddenly upended by a spectacular incident of violence at a house party. In “American History” a high school freshman attempts to impress a girl with a realistic portrayal of a slave owner during a classroom skit—only to have his feigned bigotry avenged. In “I Could Kill Someone,” a lonely teenager buys a gun with the aim of killing his high school tormentor, but begins to wonder about his bully’s own inner life.

These “spare and riveting” (O, The Oprah Magazine) stories are a compelling portrait of lives on the rough fringes of youth. Palo Alto is, “a collection of beautifully written stories” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) that “capture with perfect pitch the impossible exhilaration, the inevitable downbeatness, and the pure confusion of being an adolescent” (Elle).

Features a bonus essay by James Franco on Gia Coppola's film adaptation.
  • Scribner | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439175729 | 
  • October 2010
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Video

James Franco & Michael Cunningham on Youth

Watch the two writers discuss youth, how to inhabit characters, and the worst question to ask an author.

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About the Author

James Franco
© Mark Abrahams

James Franco

James Franco is an acclaimed actor, director, artist, and writer. His film appearances include 127 HoursMilkPineapple Express, Oz the Great and Powerful, Spring Breakers, and the Spider-Man trilogy.  Franco has written and directed several films, and his visual art has been featured in solo shows in Los Angeles and New York. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, McSweeney’s, and other publications. Franco has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College.

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