From the streets of poor neighborhoods to the racetracks of the rich and the criminal, from restaurants - there's a wonderful Middle Eastern culinary thread you can follow through this novel - to hidden courtyards and apartments to hospitals, we travel with him as he tells - in a breezy, cheerful, but always intelligent voice - the story of his daunting quest to reconnect with his father.
And with that voice, Khosi speaks for himself and for millions - for everyone trying to put together the pieces of a broken family. At one point, Khosi quotes the great food writer, M.F.K. Fisher, who said that the smell of good bread baking is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight. Can we make an analogy between that sense of delight and reading this novel? I think so.
The next edition of "Upstairs at the Square," which I put together and publicize, will feature Cheryl Strayed, whose compendium of "Dear Sugar" advice columns for the Rumpus, Tiny Beautiful Things, follows on the success of her new memoir, Wild, which inspired Oprah to relaunch her book club and has been optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon's production company; and Theo Bleckmann, whose sublime, must-hear new album is Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush, with host Katherine Lanpher on August 2.
And then I'm off to beautiful Mazama, Washington, for the first Mazama Festival of Books, which I've been working on all year.