Monique Truong and Antje Rávic Strubel met on a tour through Germany in 2004 presenting their novels Book of Salt, about Gertrude Stein’s and Alice B.Toklas’ Vietnamese cook, and Tupolew 13, a fact-based fiction about the hijacking of an airplane by two East Germans in the 1970s. Both novels were published at the same time by German publishing house C.H.Beck.
Their second meeting occurred at a literary conference at the Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki, where Strubel and Truong were both writers-in-residence. It became apparent from their keynote speeches that although their writing comes from vastly different backgrounds and follows different aesthetic concepts, they have one experience in common which fuels both of their writing: an existential rupture that has since shaped their perception of reality.
On Friday, October 18, at 6:30 p.m., New York University’s Deutsches Haus (42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y, near University Place) will present Truong and Strubel as they read excerpts from their latest works and engage in a conversation about how the experience of living through social, political and personal upheavals is reflected on and refracted in their writing – and particularly about the importance of dining well, no matter where you are.
Truong left Vietnam as a child, and when she came to the United States she had to re-invent herself in a completely different language and in a system that follows different ideas about identity and the way society is organized. She is currently based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Strubel, who grew up in East Germany and lives now in Potsdam, experienced the implosion of socialism in a country that disappeared suddenly, when the Wall fell in 1989. Both gain new perspectives on reality by sharing a deep distrust of social systems and politics. They also belong to a new order of international authors, whose identities are shaped through a nomadic view of the world.
The reading by Monique Truong and Antje Rávic Strubel is co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU (http://www.apa.nyu.edu/) . Copies of the book will be sold at the event by the NYU bookstore at a 20% discount.
Events at Deutsches Haus are free and open to the public. To register for this one, please indicate that you would like to attend this particular event in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited – therefore, please arrive ten minutes prior to the start of the event. For further information, call 212.998.8660.