A Child Out of Alcatraz

Kindle edition

Author Tara Ison

A little girl lives with her family in a picturesque seaside community near San Francisco. An American neighborhood like any other, sheltered in the seeming tranquillity of the 1950s. Except it exists on the island of Alcatraz, the Rock, where a looming cellhouse imprisons the most vicious and irredeemable of America's criminals.

Olivia grows up here and watches as her family slowly falls apart, trapped in its own prison rules and silences. She watches the disintegration of her mother, a brilliant woman isolated in a role that closes in on her as inexorably as the metallic crash of any cell door. Olivia can only watch, and retreat into herself, for she's only a little girl; there's no escape for her from the island she calls home.


Tara Ison is professor of English at Arizona State University. In addition to "A Child out of Alcatraz," she is the author of the short story collection "Ball," and the novels "The List" and "Rockaway." "Reeling through Life," a collection of essays, won the 2015 PEN Southwest Award for Creative Nonfiction. She is also the co-writer of the cult film "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead."

Praise for this book

The setting magnifies the oppressive demands placed on women at the time and gives this book an uncommonly heartfelt passion that will incite every reader. Highly recommended for all collections.

David A. Berona Library Journal
A Child out of Alcatraz, by Tara Ison
Date published
Faber and Faber, Inc.

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