This week Jenny Nelson and Danielle Evans join me to talk about their debut works.
Jenny Nelson's novel is called "Georgia's Kitchen" and it's the kind of book I really like. It involves food and by outward appearances it seems "lighter". It's not a throw away book that some might call "chick-lit". Jenny Nelson is deceptive in her writing - she entertains us but in the end there is more to it.
"Georgia's Kitchen" is the story of chef Georgia in New York. She's at the cusp of a great review at her restaurant - only to find out that she's been sacked because of something she didn't do. She also gets sacked by her fiancee. So what's a girl to do? Find a new opportunity in Italy at a new restaurant starting up in Tuscany. In the meantime, Georgia takes the time to figure out what she actually wants out of her life, apart from a dictatorial restaurant owner or romantic partner.
Danielle Evans is a short story writer who Ron Charles of The Washington Post described like this: "I hope Danielle Evans is a very nice person because that might be her only defense against other writers' seething envy". She's already been chosen by Salman Rushdie for the Best American Short Stories 2008 and by Richard Russo for the Best American Short Stories of 2010. Her work is described as being "a bold perspective on the experience of being young and African American in modern-day America. Here's info on a couple of the stories included in "Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self".
"Harvest" This is the story of a college student's unexpected pregnancy in the midst of other, white classmates who making extra money selling their eggs to fertility clinics. In the story "Snakes" two cousins are sent to live with their grandmother in the summertime. One is part African-American and is treated very differently than the other one. Unexpected things happen - both then and later in the cousins' lives.
Tune in tonight from 6-7pm for Realgoodwords or Sunday morning from 9-10. Later this week you can find the interviews archived here.
And check out the Washington Post's Ron Charles funny video review here.