San Francisco native's new book explores the changing city
San Francisco native Emil DeAndreis' semi-autobiographical novel, "Tell us when to go," explores the ever-changing city and various lived experiences of SF residents.
Details: The novel, which hits bookshelves next week, revolves around three characters: Cole Gallegos, a college dropout whose aspirations to become a professional baseball player fail to pan out; his roommate Isaac Moss, who landed a job in the tech industry; and Dizzy Benson, a young girl in foster care who lives on Treasure Island.
- The novel takes place between 2010 and 2011, toward the end of the Bay Area's hyphy movement.
Be smart: Megan here 👋🏾. The title itself is a nod to that movement, which really had its moment in 2006 when rapper E-40 released his album "The ghetto report card" with the hit "Tell me when to go."
- The cultural and lifestyle movement centered around rap and hip-hop music.
- Hyphy is about "gettin' hype, takin' it there," Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green said at the time.
- As a native, I second that.
The big picture: The book explores San Francisco during a time of change driven by the arrival of Web 2.0 companies through the character of Gallegos, who works in public education, and Moss, the tech worker.
- Throughout the novel, their paths diverge while Gallegos' friendship with Benson blossoms.
- Gallegos "comes to realize these realities that he was never really aware of in San Francisco, whereas his roommate who works in tech starts to have a completely different experience of the city and begins to embody the [tech] lifestyle," DeAndreis says. "So, naturally, they start to drift apart."
What he's saying: "It's meant as a symbolic representation of the increasing gap in San Francisco that started to take place around that time [2010 and 2011]," DeAndreis tells Axios of his characters' relationship.
- San Francisco's income inequalities are "pretty insidious" in the book, the author adds.
Yes, but: DeAndreis said it was important for his story not to be "too preachy" or force readers to pick sides.
- "I just wanted to present the dichotomy as I saw it," he says. "[I]t was important to me to give voice to the many experiences, the many lives in San Francisco."
Between the lines: "The lasting appeal of 'Tell us when to go' is perhaps as a foreboding time capsule into the Bay Area's recent past," Datebook's Zack Ruskin wrote in a review on Wednesday.
- "Anchored by friendship and a Golden Gate Ferry's worth of local references, Emil DeAndreis has gifted readers with a wonderful meditation on what it means to be imperfect, starring the ideal poster child: San Francisco."
What's next: The book comes out on Sept. 20.
- DeAndreis will participate in a discussion at Black Bird Bookstore & Cafe in the Outer Sunset on Oct. 1.
Disclosure: Megan and DeAndreis attended the same elementary, middle and high schools. They only knew each other tangentially.
More San Francisco stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.