September 10: The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong
September 10th, Friday
12pm New York | 5pm London | 6pm Athens
Friendly guided discussion about The Sweetest Fruits, organized in collaboration with Singapore Unbound. Author Monique Truong will join for the final half hour to chat with us.
Publisher: Gaudy Boy Press and Penguin
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Discussion hosted by Bhakti Shringarpure
About the book
A Greek woman tells of how she willed herself out of her father’s cloistered house, married an Irish officer in the British Army, and came to Ireland with her two-year-old son in 1852, only to be forced to leave without him soon after. An African American woman, born into slavery on a Kentucky plantation, makes her way to Cincinnati after the Civil War to work as a boarding house cook, where in 1872 she meets and marries an up-and-coming newspaper reporter. In Matsue, Japan, in 1891, a former samurai’s daughter is introduced to a newly arrived English teacher, and becomes the mother of his four children and his unsung literary collaborator. The lives of writers can often best be understood through the eyes of those who nurtured them and made their work possible. In The Sweetest Fruits, these three women tell the story of their time with Lafcadio Hearn, a globetrotting writer best known for his books about Meiji-era Japan. In their own unorthodox ways, these women are also intrepid travelers and explorers. Their accounts witness Hearn’s remarkable life but also seek to witness their own existence and luminous will to live unbounded by gender, race, and the mores of their time. Each is a gifted storyteller with her own precise reason for sharing her story, and together their voices offer a revealing, often contradictory portrait of Hearn. With brilliant sensitivity and an unstinting eye, Truong illuminates the women’s tenacity and their struggles in a novel that circumnavigates the globe in the search for love, family, home, and belonging.
About the author
Monique Truong is the Vietnamese American author of the award-winning novels The Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Bitter in the Mouth (Random House), and The Sweetest Fruits (Viking). In June 2021, Gaudy Boy also published The Sweetest Fruits in Singapore and Malaysia with a new Afterword. Truong, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship, New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Prize, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Fellowship, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship, and the Bard Fiction Prize, among others, is also a former refugee, essayist, lyricist/librettist, avid eater, and intellectual property attorney (more or less in this order). She's based in Brooklyn, New York. Author photo ©Haruka Sakaguchi
About Singapore Unbound
Starting in the USA, Singapore Unbound builds people-to-people understanding by facilitating cultural exchange, publishing literary works of merit, and presenting insightful events. They organize the biennial Singapore Literature Festival in New York, Second Saturdays Reading Series,and run the independent press, Gaudy Boy, brings powerful works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by authors of Asian heritage to an American and Singaporean audience.