Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Crossing California -- in Chicago
Larger view
Adam Langer says he wanted to write about the era of the Iranian hostage crisis, because it was when the freewheeling 1970s transformed into the buttoned-down 1980s. (Image courtesy of Riverhead Books, photographer Andreas Von Lintel)

St. Paul, Minn. — One day, novelist Adam Langer wrote one page of what he thought was going to be a short story. The he set it aside. Yet when he returned to that page a week later, he thought it had potential.

He decided to write 1,000 words a day until it was finished. He kept to the schedule religiously, even on his honeymoon.

Fifteen hundred pages later, he had the first draft of his best-selling novel, "Crossing California." The California of the title is not the state, but a street in the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Langer says the book examines what was happening through the 18 months of the Iranian hostage crisis, a time when he says America changed.

He spoke to MPR's Euan Kerr. To listen to their interview, choose the audio link in the right column.