Eliciting A Visceral Response

April 2nd, 2005 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

We can say, with all honesty, that our initial reaction to the title of Alicia Erian’s book was all she wanted and more. Every fiber of our progressive soul said, “You can’t call a book Towelhead. You can’t.”

But of course you can. It’s not against the law, though, as Erian notes, it’s probably easier when the epithet comes from someone of Arabic descent. We’re so careful these days, it makes us wonder if such a book as The Egypt Game could be published. As she discusses her story, Erian makes it clear that she doesn’t mind making readers uncomfortable — if she’s going to go there, we’re going with her. Fair enough. This in-your-faceness seems quite logical when you realize her biggest influences:

I was a huge reader of young adult novels as a kid. When I became too old to read them, I was devastated. I had a terrible time transitioning from Y.A. books to adult books. My mother’s a librarian and she’d try to bridge the gap. But I missed reading about those kids. I read a lot of Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, S.E. Hinton and Robert Cormier. It’s a great genre. I haven’t followed it since [then], but certainly when I was a kid, I loved that stuff.

While the book will likely feel its way to an audience, the interview with Elian is a blunt assessment of went into the writing. All that you’d expect. And a little bit of contratian, too.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

1 response so far ↓

  • Dan Wickett // Apr 3, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    Gotta say I’m looking forward to this book – her short fiction is also right up in your face and quite exciting to read.