Mañana Means Heaven
When they meet, Franco is a migrant farmworker with two children and a failing marriage, living with poverty, violence, and the looming threat of deportation, while the “college boy” yearns to one day make a name for himself in the writing world. The significance of their romance poses vastly different possibilities and consequences.
Mañana Means Heaven deftly combines fact and fiction to pull back the veil on one of literature’s most mysterious and evocative characters. Inspired by Franco’s love letters to Kerouac and Hernandez’s interviews with Franco, now in her nineties and living in relative obscurity, the novel brings this lost gem of a story out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
“The story of Bea Franco—née Bea Renteria, a.k.a. Jack Kerouac’s “Mexican girl,” or Terry, from his novel-cum-Beat-generation-manifesto On the Road—is a mesmeric tale born of Hernandez’s passionate curiosity. Based on extensive research and investigation, part fact, mostly fiction, and years in the making, this novel will thrill the millions of readers who have read Kerouac’s book and/or seen the movie adaptation. But no prior knowledge of Kerouac or his works is required: this is an entirely fascinating, standalone story in its own right.”—Booklist
“Through documents, interviews, and dogged research, Tim Z. Hernandez pieces together her life and the significance of that chance encounter that shaped both of their lives forever.”—New York Times
“Whether or not you are a Kerouac fan, Tim Z. Hernandez has created an important entry for the Kerouac canon that also stands on its own merits as a well-crafted novel about love and loss. Bravo.”—Rick Dale, The Daily Beat
“Hernandez’s portrayal offers a telling counterpoint to Kerouac’s rendering, reclaiming Franco’s agency and offering a depth and insight into her circumstances and the life of women like her who, both on the page and in everyday life, are too often consigned to anonymity.”—Zyzzyva
"Seductive and fascinating."—Fresno Bee
"Hernandez's choice to write [Bea's] story as fiction is gutsy, inspired, and does honor to Kerouac, who fictionalized the real-life characters he met in On The Road. The result is an earthy and soulful tale, a version of their improbable love affair that feels as true as Kerouac's."—Catch & Release
“There is no other novel like this in American publishing—Bea Franco’s story and her relationship with Jack Kerouac are vital, compelling, and absolutely necessary. Central California, with its history of immigration and agriculture, along with labor camps and workers, is a landscape presented in a different way here, and the women in these places are exactly the characters America desperately needs right now. They are all created in a singular way here.”—Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon