New novel means daughter-mother bonding at Bookshop for Molly Prentiss, Nikki Silva

Author Molly Prentiss (left) and her mother, radio host/producer Nikki Silva.

Author Molly Prentiss returns to Santa Cruz County on May 4 to talk about her latest novel, “Old Flame.” She’ll be in conversation at Bookshop Santa Cruz with someone who knows her well: radio journalist Nikki Silva, her mom.

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We don’t know how Nikki Silva’s Mother’s Day is going to be, though we hope it’ll be a serene one. But we suspect that the longtime Santa Cruz radio journalist is going to have a helluva Star Wars Day. Wait, what’s Star Wars Day? It’s May 4, of course (you know, like “may the fourth be with you …”). That’s the day when Nikki will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz to interview novelist Molly Prentiss, in town to hawk her “enthralling” (so sayeth The New York Times) new novel, “Old Flame.”

In her work as one half of the legendary Kitchen Sisters radio duo, Nikki certainly does her homework with her interview subjects. But in this case, she doesn’t have to do much research. That’s because Nikki happens to be Molly’s mom.

Molly Prentiss, the daughter of Nikki and renowned painter Charles Prentiss, grew up in the large, multifamily compound near La Selva Beach where her folks still live. She published her first novel, “Tuesday Nights in 1980,” in 2016. The new novel explicitly addresses the unique dynamic between mothers and daughters in terms of loss and grief and other maddening psychic rabbit holes. The New York Times, in its review of “Old Flame,” said it had “echoes of Elena Ferrante,” high praise indeed.

For many of us, being interviewed in public by your mom (or interviewing your adult daughter) is a scary proposition. But this is not your everyday mother-daughter confab. Bring your mother (or your daughter). Check it out next Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at Bookshop Santa Cruz. It’s free.

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