Brooklyn-based Akashic Books is most widely known for championing authors of urban fiction and political nonfiction that falls outside the mainstream, hosting imprints like the Akashic Books Noir series, Punk Planet Books, and Dennis Cooper's Little House on the Bowery series. Now, to celebrate 10 years of publishing marginalized and outlandishly talented literary innovators, Akashic Books is sending three of its finest storytellers (Chris Abani, Joe Meno, and Felicia Luna Lemus) to Powell's for a dynamic and passionate all-star reading the likes of which cannot be described without a run-on sentence containing a half dozen dazzling adjectives.
Abani reads from his new novel, Song for Night, which tells the story of a African boy soldier with severed vocal chords who journeys through a nightmarish and extraordinary landscape of war. A Nigerian poet and novelist, Abani's courageous and lyrical treatments of difficult subject matter have drawn the attention of critical voices from Dave Eggers to The Today Show.
Meno, while largely known for his raw account of your adolescence in the '90s in Hairstyles of the Damned, reads from his re-issued debut novel, Tender as Hellfire. In it, eccentrically named brothers Dough and Pill comb the broken landscape of their trailer park community, unearthing beauty and the sublime in a confused terrain of pain and displaced trailer park floozies.
Lemus reads from Like Son, her new novel that follows Frank Cruz (a 30-year-old post-punk born as a girl named Francisca but identifying as a man) through present-day New York, the economically segregated barrios and hills of 1990s Los Angeles, and 1940s Mexico City, as he grapples with his dead father's legacy. Frank's odyssey into personal identity leads him to an eerie East Village romance, a relationship later tested by the chaos and devastation of September 11.Whether writing about gender identity, West African war, the Mexican avant-garde, or a surreal trailer park littered with broken-down Impalas, this trio of authors reflects the diverse and high-caliber material published by Akashic. Marked by wildly different locales, themes, and styles, the authors share a gift for detailing personal transformations under dire and chaotic circumstances, which should make for a gripping author event.