Exploring the Newcomer’s Story
One of the most heralded young novelists of his generation and a Pulitzer Prize winner will be on-hand guides as Arlington Reads 2013 goes “Out of Bounds: The Immigrant Experience.”
This spring Arlington Public Library’s annual one-theme, one-community initiative will look at two powerful works of fiction that echo with the searing isolation, loneliness and hope felt by millions who have gone searching far from home as migrants to America.
- Tuesday, April 9, 7 p.m. – Dinaw Mengestu will speak at Central Library
- Monday, April 29, 7 p.m. – Junot Díaz will speak at Central Library
Dinaw Mengestu came to the United States from Ethiopia at the age of two. His first novel, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, tells the story of an Ethiopian survivor escaping communist revolution only to struggle for acceptance behind the counter of a shabby Washington grocery store.
The New York Time says Mengestu has created a “great African novel, a great Washington novel and a great American novel.” He is the winner of a 2012 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” fellowship and has been named a top author under 40 by the New Yorker and the National Book Award Foundation. Mengestu’s journalism has appeared in Harper’s, Rolling Stone and the Wall Street Journal.
Dominican immigrant Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao weaves shifting narration and a tragic family backstory with the longings of a fatherless, overweight teen transplanted in New Jersey with only science fiction as an escape.
A best-selling first novel, “Oscar Wao” won Díaz the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Time magazine called it the best novel of the year, “a massive, heaving, sparking tragicomedy.” Díaz is another 2012 MacArthur fellowship winner and a 2012 National Book Award finalist.
Do you have an immigrant story to tell? Please share in our comments section.