Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Discussion Guide for The Year of Needy Girls

1. What do the houses seem to represent for Deirdre in chapter one? What do they reveal about the way she sees herself and the world? 2. What do the school scenes suggest about the type of teacher Deirdre is? What is her greatest strength? Her weakness? 3. The title refers to Deirdre’s students but […]

Discussion Guide for All Waiting Is Long

1. The title of this novel, All Waiting Is Long, is an old Welsh proverb. What do you think is meant by this adage? In Chapter Four, Stanley recalls Violet using the expression while they are waiting in line to see Queenie the elephant. What other examples of waiting can be found in the book? […]

Discussion Guide for Native Believer

1. Native Believer is among the first novels that turns the satirical and comic gaze upon the War on Terror. The novel mercilessly satirizes the War—pornography, waterboarding addiction, and governmental monitoring of Muslim communities are just some of the myriad examples. Of the many examples, what is your favorite scene satirizing the GWOT? Does the […]

Discussion Guide for The Book of Harlan

1. When the story opens, the narrator describes Emma’s privileged life in the early 1900s. What might this propose about the accuracy of historical accounts? 2. Describe the narrator of the story. Can we be certain of who it is, or does the point of view shift throughout the story? How does the author’s method of narration […]

Discussion Guide for The Angels’ Share

1. Upon hearing Angela’s name at their first meeting, Nigel Doril asks her, “Do you know Angela is Spanish for angels?” How significant is the naming of the character “Angela” to the thematic development of the book? 2. How does the fact that Angela is a “massager” add to the overall theme of the book? […]

Discussion Guide for Even in Paradise

  1. In Between the World and Me, bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow’s incendiary question: Where is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? Coates responds with Ralph Wiley’s statement: Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus. In this novel, Elizabeth Nunez appropriates Shakespeare’s King Lear, seeming to imply that Shakespeare is […]

Discussion Guide for Marvel and a Wonder

1. The novel attempts to explore the complicated relationship between Jim and his grandson, Quentin. How does each character develop? What about them is heroic? What is unlikable? How are they flawed? How do they save each other over the course of the book? 2. The novel takes place at the end of the twentieth […]

Sterling Watson’s Author Statement for Suitcase City

Two of my novels have come to me in dreams. Suitcase City is one of them. I often have what my dreaming mind convinces me are good ideas for stories, but I don’t often remember the ideas when I wake up. I dreamt the first forty pages or so of Suitcase City vividly, and did […]