The Big One follows the lives of nine very different but interrelated characters through the day before, the day of and the day after the greatest earthquake ever to hit San Francisco – an event expected in the very near future. It concludes with a huge, internationally televised memorial service for the dead a month later, when some of the mysteries that tie together these tormented people are resolved.
“This appears to be a novel about ‘The Big One,’ the great earthquake that we’ve been told will inevitably strike San Francisco. But it is really a story about human catastrophe, dissolution, and the heartbreaking struggle for redemption. Littlejohn deftly weaves interconnected and unraveling lives on the brink of cataclysm. A bold and mesmerizing novel.” – Paul Zalis, author, Who is the River
“This is a terrific novel, a vivid, utterly convincing, utterly compelling depiction of the event we’ve all spent our lives dreading. David Littlejohn brings to his tale breathtaking erudition, a born storyteller’s gift for page-turning narration, and a native San Franciscan’s love for and intimate knowledge of his home town.” – Erik Tarloff, author, Face Time and The Man Who Wrote the Book
“David Littlejohn’s The Big One dares to imagine a natural catastrophe of unheard-of proportions, and then pulls the reader irresistibly through it with luminous details and genuinely complex characters. In its epic sweep it gives us people from the full social spectrum of the city–from the mentally disturbed homeless street artist to the dowager at the opera. And it gets us to care about them.” – Ron Loewinsohn, author, Magnetic Field(s)
About the Author
David Littlejohn was born in San Francisco, the descendant of 1850 gold-seekers. He taught English and journalism at the University of California at Berkeley for 35 years. He has written fifteen books (including two other novels), more than 400 articles and 238 television broadcasts, and is working on a memoir of his life entitled I Can’t Feel a Thing.
Front-cover drawing by Lebbeus Woods, courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.