photograph by Patrick Hinely
Asali Solomon was born and raised in West Philadelphia. Her first book, a collection of stories entitled Get Down, is set mostly in Philadelphia. Solomon's work has been featured in Vibe, Essence, and the anthology Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Lips and Other Parts. She has a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA form the Iowa's Writer Workshop in fiction. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and is on the short list for this year's Hurston/Wright Literary Award for best new fiction.
She also was named one of the National Book foundation’s “5 Under 35” in 2007.
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Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (February 3, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
An elegant, vibrant, startling coming-of-age novel, for anyone who's ever felt the shame of being alive
Kenya Curtis is only eight years old, but she knows that she's different, even if she can't put her finger on how or why. It's not because she's black--most of the other students in the fourth-grade class at her West Philadelphia elementary school are too. Maybe it's because she celebrates Kwanzaa, or because she's forbidden from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Maybe it's because she calls her father—a housepainter-slash-philosopher--"Baba" instead of "Daddy," or because her parents' friends gather to pour out libations "from the Creator, for the Martyrs" and discuss "the community."
Kenya does know that it's connected to what her Baba calls "the shame of being alive"--a shame that only grows deeper and more complex over the course of Asali Solomon's long-awaited debut novel. Disgruntled, effortlessly funny and achingly poignant, follows Kenya from West Philadelphia to the suburbs, from public school to private, from childhood through adolescence, as she grows increasingly disgruntled by her inability to find any place or thing or person that feels like home.
A coming-of-age tale, a portrait of Philadelphia in the late eighties and early nineties, an examination of the impossible double-binds of race, Disgruntled is a novel about the desire to rise above the limitations of the narratives we're given and the painful struggle to craft fresh ones we can call our own.
Get Down: Stories
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by Asali Solomon (Author)
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (January 22, 2008)
Nominated for A Hurston/Wright Legacy Award 2007
'Asali Solomon's stories are luminous and touching and are an important contribution to the serious literature about the urban lives of black Americans. Solomon's work is sensitively observed and should be applauded form the first words to the last'
'Edward P. Jones, author of All Aunt Hager's Children
'Let's face it, we've all experienced an awkward adolescent moment. That's why you're sure to identify with the funny melange of characters in Asali Solomon's sparkling debut collection, Get Down . Set mainly in West Philly in the 1980s during the Cosby Show era, Solomon's ten stories are held together by three ingredients: a dance floor, a juicy secret and misfits trying to find their place in the world.'
About the Book
Asali Solomon's characters are vivid misfits'a heathen at Jesus camp, a scheming prep-school student, a middle-aged mom pining for her salsa-dancing salad days, a scheming twentysomething virgin, a college stud in love with his weight-lifting partner, a lonely girl in love with a yellow dress. The kids in Get Down are trapped between their own good breeding and their burning desire to join the house party of sex, romance, and bad behavior that seems to be happening on some other block, down some other more dangerous street. The adults in Get Down are just trying to hold it together.
Here is a debut that will make you laugh and cringe in equal measure. Set mostly in middle-class black Philadelphia during the crack and Reagan years, the stories in Get Down are antic, poignant, and utterly universal'they'll bring back memories for anyone who has ever stood in the corner of a darkened school gym wondering whether to dance . . . or duck for cover. They announce a sparkling new talent, a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop whose work has been featured in Vibe, Essence, and the anthology Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts.
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