By David Burga
This is my second year tackling a reading challenge for The FOLD’s blog, and the organization continues to be a wonderful source of new authors, perspectives, and stories. Every year the festival grows in scope and attendance and I’m looking forward to the 5th year anniversary. We’ve got another stellar lineup coming four of those authors are featured in this month’s blog:
In the era of Black Lives Matter, BlackLife examines why black erasure and death are horrifically acceptable throughout western culture with a focus on Canadian society. Walcott and Abdillahi call upon local history, literature, music and public policy to examine everything arts funding to crime and mental health to challenge the dominant culture’s concept of Black personhood. They argue that artists, theorists, activists, and scholars offer us the opportunity to rethink and expose flawed thought, providing us new avenues into potential new lives and a more livable reality of BlackLife.
Iris Wang’s summer goes awry and her life goes into crisis when her boyfriend cheats on her and she gets rejected by every college she applied to. As a Chinese-American, she feels torn between the two cultures and yet not enough of either culture to claim it as her own. Iris’ parents think they have the remedy to Iris’ problems – a trip to Beijing to spend time with family, reconnect with her culture and find herself. The book becomes reminiscent of Crazy Rich Asians as Iris becomes swept up in the opulent world of Beijing’s wealthy elite and her adventure leads to discoveries about her family, her future and herself.
No Going Back is the third book featuring Kamal’s brilliant but troubled protagonist, Nora Watts. As an investigator, Nora is an expert at reading people. In the first book in the series, The Lost Ones, Nora has to help find a kidnapped child, the child she gave up for adoption 15 years earlier, Bonnie. When Nora saved Bonnie from the wealthy Zang Family, she made an enemy in Dao, a Triad enforcer and the former head of Zang’s private security. In No Going Back, Bonnie is now seventeen years old and has a target on her back because of Nora. Dao is out for revenge and Nora has to track him down in order to keep her and Bonnie safe. The tale takes Nora from Canada to southeast Asia and back to Vancouver.
Mona Awad follows up the incredible 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl with Bunny, a book set at an MFA program at New England’s elite Warren University. Samantha Heather Mackey is an awkward scholarship student who doesn’t fit in with the other cliquey rich girls who call each other, “Bunny.” But Samantha’s social fortunes change when she receives and invitation to the Bunnies’ exclusive monthly “Smut Salon,” and ditches the only real friend she has, Ava. Bunny is a story about loneliness, belonging, creativity, female friendship, and desire.