The Possibility of Lions by Marta Maretich

The McCall family should be thrilled to be back in California, after what happened to them in Africa. Forced to flee their home in Nigeria by the violence of the Biafran War, they turn up in a small town in the San Joaquin Valley, and everyone assumes they must be delighted to be back in their own country. But while life in the States may be safe, it’s also foreign to this unlikely family of refugees. They dream of the day they’ll return to their real home in Africa—a  prospect that seems more remote as they watch the brutal progress of “their” war on television.

Fortunately, relief comes in the suave form of Anatole Hachette and Roland, his lion. Like the McCalls, Anatole has been thrown out of Africa. Unlike them, he has solved the problem of losing his native land. His plan is to recreate a piece of it in California by establishing a wild animal park, Safariland, on the dry plains outside of town. But will the cautious locals embrace the possibility of lions? And can two such different worlds really be brought together in one place?

“Marta Maretich has a fine and witty imagination. Her novella presents an entertaining and thought-provoking romp in Central California, complete with otiose lions and irritable oilmen, all seen through the eyes of a sensitive and precocious young girl.”

― Tony Eprile, The Persistence of Memory and Temporary Sojourner and Other South African Stories

“Marta Maretich knows that the world is both more various and more wonderful than it may appear. The Possibility of Lions looks at feelings that cannot easily be named, and reveals hidden lives behind the bleached out colors of the California heartland. Maretich writes in a clear, sharp voice edged through with humor and compassion. She knows what it means to be displaced, and the unexpected friendships forged between the lost.”

— Catherine Temma, The Priest Fainted

“Marta Maretich reveals an original vision and a voice from a region too often ignored. Readers may not be quite certain where they’re going until they get there, but the journey will be fine.”

— Gerald Haslam, Straight White Male, The Great Central Valley: California’s Heartland, Workin’ Man’s Blues and The Other California