In Joanna Smith Rakoff’s debut novel A Fortunate Age—an update of Mary McCarthy’s tale of Vassar graduates, The Group—six recent Oberlin alums make their way in New York in the days before and after Sept. 11, 2001. Dylan Landis’ debut, Normal People Don’t Live Like This, tells 10 stories from a variety of perspectives; they explore the difficult relationship between a mother, Helen, and her daughter Leah in 1970s New York. Both characters struggle to break free of confining lives and ultimately make individual, unexpected leaps of faith. But unlike many young literary characters to whom New York is a beacon, Leah doesn’t find self-actualization in the city; instead she has to leave it.
RAKOFF AND LANDIS READ AT 7 P.M. AT THE ARTS CLUB OF WASHINGTON, 2017 I ST. NW. FREE. (202) 331-7282.