Events at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis, 612.822.4611, www.magersandquinn.com
July 27 – At 7:30 p.m., Vendela Vida will read from The Lovers, her new novel about the love between husbands and wives, mothers and children. Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in memories of a happier time, Yvonne returns to the beautiful coastal village of DatÃ§a, Turkey, where she and her husband Peter honeymooned twenty-eight years before. But instead of comforting her, Yvonne’s memories begin to trouble her. Overwhelmed by the past and unexpectedly dislocated by the environment, Yvonne clings to a new-found friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into the lives of her own adult children, and she finally begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a devastating accident upends her delicate peace and throws her life into chaos – and her sense of self into turmoil. Vendela Vida is the author of the critically acclaimed novels And Now You Can Go and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, as well as Girls on the Verge, a journalistic exploration of female coming-of-age rituals. She is a founding co-editor of The Believer magazine.
August 4 – Ira Sukrungruang will read from Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy at 7:30 p.m. He will be joined by Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer. Both authors will discuss what it means to be Asian in America.
Talk Thai is the story of a first generation Thai-American growing up in a Thai family, and his constant attempts to reconcile cultural and familial expectations. It is a first-generation Asian American story, a mama’s boy story, a Chi-town Southsider story, a child of the 80s story, a child of a broken home story. In this book we meet a mother who started packing for her return to Thailand the moment she arrived in this country, whose dreams of a normal Thai son, of a normal Thai family, slowly erode; that mother’s best friend, the narrator’s second mother, who lives with and cooks for the family; and a wayward father whose dreams never quite come to fruition. Yet, despite the cultural conflict that manifests in the home, in the community, and in Sukrungruang’s mind, this book is written with humor and playfulness, by a writer not afraid to make a little fun of himself nor to expose the moments of poignancy in his life. Ira Sukrungruang is a Thai American writer born in 1976 in Oak Lawn, IL, a suburb just south of Chicago. He now teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. Visit him online at www.sukrungruang.com.
When she was six years old, Kao Kalia Yang’s family immigrated to America. Her memoir, The Latehomecomer, evocatively captures the challenges of adapting to a new place and a new language. Through her words, the dreams, wisdom, and traditions passed down from her grandmother and shared by the entire Hmong community have finally found a voice. The Latehomecomer won the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards Readers’ Choice Award. Together with her sister, Kao Kalia Yang is the founder of a company dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating and business services. A graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University, Yang has recently screened The Place Where We Were Born, a film documenting the experiences of Hmong American refugees. Visit her website at www.kaokaliayang.com.