City Paper is not for tourists
Brit Bennett and Yaa Gyasi in Conversation
Pulling off a novel that covers generations requires a steady hand. Authors must balance style and literary flair with the need to introduce, develop, and distinguish new sets of characters, all while keeping the temporal progression of the book uncomplicated enough to follow. It’s a very specific craft, argues Loyalty Bookstores, which will host a talk on Nov. 20 with two celebrated authors who’ve recently demonstrated that they have the chops to pull it off. In Brit Bennett‘s novel The Vanishing Half, two Black twin sisters grow up together in a small community in the South until they run away as teenagers. Their paths diverge irrevocably in adulthood when one begins passing for White. But The Vanishing Half is about more than the twins, Desiree and Stella; it’s about their parents, their grandparents, their daughters, and the thorny inheritance they all must grapple with. Yaa Gyasi‘s debut Homegoing was a saga that followed a family across borders and centuries. Her most recent novel, Transcendent Kingdom, focuses more tightly on a young woman, Gifty, who struggles to manage her feelings around her mother’s depression and her brother’s addiction—and how they’re related to her family’s history. The two writers will discuss weaving these narratives with Traci Thomas, host of The Stacks, a literary podcast, virtually over Crowdcast. The event is hosted by Loyalty, with all proceeds going to benefit Black Lives Matter D.C. The event begins at 8 p.m. on Nov. 20. Registration is available at loyaltybookstores.com. Donations encouraged.