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Author Reading: Jess Row w/ Karan Mahajan

  • Twenty Stories Bookstore 107 Ives Street Providence, RI (map)

Join us at our Fox Point store as we welcome Jess Row and his new nonfiction book WHITE FLIGHTS: RACE, FICTION, AND THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION (Graywolf Press). After the reading, Row will be in conversation with writer Karan Mahajan, author of THE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS (Viking) followed by a Q&A and book signing!


“These are brilliant, sweeping, intimate delights—and afterward, you may never read the same way again.” —Alexander Chee

White Flights is a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture from the end of the civil rights movement to the present. At the heart of the book, Jess Row ties “white flight”—the movement of white Americans into segregated communities, whether in suburbs or newly gentrified downtowns—to white writers setting their stories in isolated or emotionally insulated landscapes, from the mountains of Idaho in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping to the claustrophobic households in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. Row uses brilliant close readings of work from well-known writers such as Don DeLillo, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford, and David Foster Wallace to examine the ways these and other writers have sought imaginative space for themselves at the expense of engaging with race.

White Flights aims to move fiction to a more inclusive place, and Row looks beyond criticism to consider writing as a reparative act. What would it mean, he asks, if writers used fiction “to approach each other again”? Row turns to the work of James Baldwin, Dorothy Allison, and James Alan McPherson to discuss interracial love in fiction, while also examining his own family heritage as a way to interrogate his position. A moving and provocative book that includes music, film, and literature in its arguments, White Flights is an essential work of cultural and literary criticism.

About Jess Row:

Jess Row is the author of White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination, as well as the novel Your Face in Mine and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. White Flights is his first book of nonfiction. One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2007, he lives in New York and teaches at the College of New Jersey.

About Karan Mahajan:

Karan Mahajan is the author of FAMILY PLANNING, a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and THE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS, which was shortlisted for the 2016 National Book Award, won the 2017 Young Lions Fiction Award from the NYPL, and was named one of the New York Times Book Review’s "10 Best Books of 2016." In 2017, he was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. His reporting and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, The New Yorker Online, and other venues. He is an assistant professor at Brown University.

Earlier Event: September 29
Fiction Book Club: Machine by Susan Steinberg
Later Event: October 20
Story Time + Singalong for Kids