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Virtual Event: Ivan Vladislavić at the Brooklyn Book Festival
October 4, 2020 @ 2:00 pm
On October 4th at 2pm EST, Ivan Vladislavić will be featured on the Brooklyn Book Festival’s virtual webinar “Coming of Age in Challenging Times.”
Childhood can seem to exist in a bubble, defined by the rituals of family and home. But outside pressures are never far off. In Romesh Gunesekera’s Suncatcher, a young boy in 1960s Sri Lanka revels in the thrill of the make-believe, while gradually becoming aware of the social and religious forces that threaten to divide the country. The protagonist of Ivan Vladislavić’s The Distance obsessively follows the career of boxing great Muhammad Ali in 1970s Pretoria, his hero-worship a form of defiance in apartheid-era South Africa. And in Suneeta Peres da Costa’s Saudade, the daughter of an Indian immigrant family in 1960s Angola learns to recognize the rumblings of a growing independence movement and end of colonial privilege. How are these different coming-of-ages marked by their own time and place, and what do they have in common? Moderated by Eric Banks, Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities.
The Distance takes place in 1970s suburban Pretoria, during a pivotal decade in South African history of growing resistance to apartheid. Joe falls in love with Muhammad Ali. Diligently scrapbooking newspaper clippings of his hero, he records and imbibes the showman’s inimitable brand of resistance. In this formally inventive, fragmented novel, Vladislavić evokes the beauty and the strangeness of remembering and forgetting, and explores what it means to be at odds with one’s surroundings.