2 pm | SUNDAY, AUGUST 12
Author Lisa Locascio will discuss her new novel, Open Me, a political and erotically-charged debut that follows a young American woman’s transformative journey during one pivotal summer abroad, hailed by Viet Thanh Nguyen as “unflinching in its portrayal of sex, desire, racism, and the excitement and confusion of youth.”
About the Book
Roxana Olsen has always dreamed of going to Paris, and after high school graduation finally plans to travel there on a study abroad program—a welcome reprieve from the bruising fallout of her parents’ divorce. But a logistical mix-up brings Roxana to Copenhagen instead, where she’s picked up at the airport by Søren, a twenty-eight year old guide who is meant to be her steward. Instantly drawn to one another, Roxana and Søren’s relationship turns romantic, and when he asks Roxana to accompany him to a small town in the north of Denmark for the rest of the summer, she doesn’t hesitate to accept. There, Roxana’s world narrows and opens as she experiences fantasy, ritual, and the pleasures of her body, a thrilling realm of erotic and domestic bliss. But as their relationship deepens, Søren’s temperament darkens, and Roxana finds herself increasingly drawn to a mysterious local outsider whom she learns is a refugee from the Balkan War.
An erotic coming-of-age like no other, from a magnetic new voice in fiction, Open Me is a daringly original and darkly compelling portrait of a young woman discovering her power, her sex, and her voice; and an incisive examination of xenophobia, migration, and what it means to belong.
Praise for the Book
"A plunge into the murky, unexplored depths of sexuality and xenophobia, Open Me is the most beautifully written new novel I’ve read in years. Gripped from the start by its spare, rich, exacting prose, I was pulled through the pages in the thrall of eighteen year old Roxana’s discovery of her own body, its burning, complex urges, its capacity for ecstasy and erasure, for knowledge and dream. Locascio’s unflinching frankness about female desire is not just refreshing, it is vital for our time.” —Michaela Carter, author of Further Out Than You Thought
"Imbued with sex and politics, Locascio's debut novel casts the traditional bildungsroman into a darker, more feminine light... Locascio centers the female body exquisitely. A debut exploring how we open up to others―and, more importantly, ourselves."―Kirkus Review
"Locascio practically invents a new language, conjuring pure feelings and colors [...]This provocative, intimate, and metamorphosing character study vividly captures a young woman’s life-earned education." ―Booklist
About the Author
Lisa Locascio was born in Chicago and raised in River Forest, Illinois. Her debut novel, Open Me, will be published by Grove Atlantic in August 2018. She is the editor of the anthology Golden State 2017: The Best New Writing from California (Outpost19), co-publisher of the regional fiction magazine Joyland, and editor of the ekphrastic collaboration magazine 7x7. Locascio is the first Anglophone writer to be granted an interview with Roberto Bolaño's widow Carolina López. Her writing about Bolaño has appeared in The Believer, Salon, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, and has received mention in The New Yorker and The Los Angeles Times. Visit the author's website »