The stories in Exit Paradise are stories about family and about place. The family, most often, is an Italian-American family named, ironically, the Johnsons. The place, usually, is the vanishing edge of the California suburbs, where identity, culture, and desire merge in ways that defy easy stereotypes. An Italian matriarch dies, and her deathbed curse haunts the sexual adventures of her grandsons at the other end of the continent. A young man tries to rescue his own life by imagining the death of his brother. The President of the United States, searching for guidance, visits the Los Angeles Coliseum on the eve of a foreign invasion. These and other stories make up the world of Exit Paradise, richly textured, disturbing at times, revealing–in unexpected flashes–the submerged reality that exists below the surface of everyday life.