Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Xhenet Aliu

Xhenet Aliu's new novel is Brass.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Brass, and for your characters Elsie and Luljeta?

A: Growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut, I was surrounded--at home, at work in the industrial park, in my community college classes--by a lot of women who informed the character of Elsie.

These were single moms with a ton of hustle, women who lived hard lives and still managed to have a nasty sense of humor, women who were sharp enough that, if they’d been born just a few minutes down the road in some of the wealthier parts of Connecticut, it would have been assumed that they would go to college and thrive in the obvious ways that our culture values.

I knew Elsie so well that I barely had to write her; it just took me a while to figure out that there was a reason to.

When I first started writing seriously, I was panicked because I thought a person like me, with no pedigree and not a cosmopolitan bone in my body, had no stories to tell.

I didn’t think people wanted to read about things like poor and working-class people, recent immigrants who weren’t success stories, post-industrial factory towns, because I so infrequently encountered them myself as a reader. Eventually I realized...[read on]
Visit Xhenet Aliu's website.

--Marshal Zeringue