In this reading, novelist, writer, and art director Jade Song shares her visceral debut novel, Chlorine. This chilling and addictive work blurs the line between a literary coming-of-age narrative and a dark unsettling horror tale, creating a shrewd commentary on the trials of growing up in a society that puts monstrous pressure on young women and their bodies. Jade will be in conversation with Anjali Sachdeva, author of All the Names They Used for God.
The novel centers on Ren Yu, a zealous swimmer whose daily life starts and ends with the pool. Her teammates are her only friends. Her coach, her guiding light. She aches to be in the water, dreaming of chlorine and imagining the chemicalized liquid will turn her into a mermaid—the creature of her obsessions. Pressure heaps upon Ren from every direction, from the boundary pushing of her overbearing and inappropriate coach, to the insistence of her parents that she get a scholarship and attend an Ivy League school. She finds ways to cope, though they are each as destructive and debaucherous as the last, plummeting her into a world of body dysmorphia and horror. All the while, the dream of a mermaid’s life remains: a life of dragging and drowning, of bringing would-be colonizers to their doom. A life of freedom and control.
Filled to the brim with shudder-inducing and intoxicating prose, Chlorine is a powerful, relevant novel of immigration, sapphic longing, and fierce, defiant becoming.
You can purchase your own copy of Jade’s book, Chlorine, at City of Asylum Bookstore.
About the Author:
Jade Song (she/they) is a writer, art director, and artist. Their debut novel, Chlorine, was lauded as “visionary and disturbing” by Publisher’s Weekly.Jade’s other writing is published in Teen Vogue, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh and now lives in New York City.
About the Moderator:
Anjali Sachdeva’s short story collection, All the Names They Used for God, was the winner of the 2019 Chautauqua Prize. It was named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Refinery 29, and BookRiot, longlisted for the Story Prize, and chosen as the 2018 Fiction Book of the Year by the Reading Women podcast. The New York Times Book Review called the collection “strange and wonderful,” and Roxane Gay called it, “One of the best collections I’ve ever read. Every single story is a stand out.” Her fiction has been published in McSweeney’s, Lightspeed, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among other publications, and featured on the LeVar Burton Reads podcast.
Sachdeva worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs. She is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Investing in Professional Artists grant from the Heinz Endowments and the Pittsburgh Foundation. She currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, and in the low-residency MFA program at Randolph College.
About Your Visit:
City of Asylum Bookstore is open from 12-6PM.
The in-house restaurant 40 North will be open after the program, from 5-10PM.
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