Award Winning Young Fiction Writers

A New Book Discussion Series
books Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library
Book Discussion Series
Fall 2013-Winter 2014
 
Discussion Leader: Phil Burnham, George Mason University
 
In the sixth year of our annual book discussion series, we’re doing something different. The authors we’ve chosen are all Americans, and all under age 45, and they’ve each won at least one — some have won several — major awards, from having a book they’ve written being selected as a National Book Award and/or Pulitzer Prize Finalist to being listed by The New York Times as one of the year’s 10 best. Their themes and writing styles are uniquely their own.

We’ll meet at Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library once a month, on Thursday evenings, from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Below is our schedule of dates, the names of the books and authors, a very brief description, and the opening lines of each book. All are “debut novels”:

Sept. 19
Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón

In a decade-long bloody civil conflict between government and guerrillas in a fictional South American country, Norma is the on-air voice of hope for Indians in the mountains and the poor in the barrios.
“They took Norma off the air that Tuesday morning because a boy was dropped off at the station. He was quiet and thin and had a note.”

Oct. 17
Gob’s Grief by Chris Adrian

The novel is set in the Civil War, but the story, a blend of history and fiction, is highly original and imaginative in scope.
“Thomas Jefferson Woodhull was 11 years old when he ran away from home to join the Union army. One night in August of 1863, he sprinted down a white road that seemed to bloom out of the darkness as a bright moon climbed higher and higher in the sky above him.”

Nov. 14
The Vagrants by Yiyun Li

The story centers on several intriguing characters forced to make moral choices and choices for survival in China in the late 1970s.
“The day started before sunrise, on March 21, 1979, when Teacher Go woke up and found his wife sobbing quietly into her blanket. A day of equality it was, or so it had occurred to Teacher Go many times when he had pondered the date, the spring equinox, and again the thought came to him: Their daughter’s life would end on this day, when neither the sun nor its shadow reigned.”

Dec. 12
All the Living by C.E. Morgan

A young woman moves with her bereaved lover to Kentucky in 1984. So begins her emotional awakening, and the tug-of-war between her desires and the real world.
“She had never lived in a house and now, seeing the thing, she was no longer sure she wanted to. It was the right house, she knew it was. It was as he had described.”

Jan. 9
The End by Salvatore Scibona


In one description, this story is “cast against the racial, spiritual, and moral tension that has given rise to modern America.”
“He was 5’1” tall in street shoes, bearlike in his round and jowly face, hulking in his chest and shoulders, nearly just as stout around the middle, but hollow in the hips, and lacking a proper can to sit on (though he was hardly ever known to sit), and wee at the ankles, and girlish in his tiny feet, a man in the shape of a lightbulb.”

Feb. 6
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

The time is now. We meet our narrator, 13-year-old Ava Bigtree, at her family’s gator-wrestling theme park on an island in the Florida Everglades.
“Our mother performed in starlight. Whose invention this was I never discovered.”

Please join us.
Our discussions are lively, mutually respectful, and guaranteed to open the door to new places and new ideas.