Next Meetup

Chapel Hill’s own Algonquin Press published The Leavers last year. The author, Lisa Ko (pictured above), won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction for this debut novel. The story has two narrators. One is a Chinese boy who his 11 years old when the novel opens. His name is Deming Guo. The second narrator is his mother, Peilan Guo, who renames herself Polly when she first arrives in New York City as a pregnant undocumented Chinese immigrant. Deming’s story begins when his mother abruptly disappears. He believes she has abandoned him and their makeshift family and run away to a new free life in Florida. Without his knowledge or consent, he suddenly finds himself taken away from his school and friends in the inner city Bronx by foster parents, college professors who live in a small town in upstate New York. His new life is comfortable and his adoption proceeds successfully. His new name becomes Daniel Wilkinson and the past seems to be behind him. Yet as he approaches adulthood he is adrift and unable to commit to college, as his parents want, or to music following his own inclination. In Part Two the narrator shifts to Polly who is now living in China. We learn about her earlier life in China. The novel then continues shifting back and forth between narrators until, through a combination of accident, luck and determined search, Deming reconnects with his birth mother and little by little, the painful story of her disappearance emerges. The story is compelling. You will learn a lot about immigrant life, ICE (the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency) and the consequences of disruption by people caught in the system. The New York Times reviewer called the book “quietly sensational.” Join us to share your own reactions.

Flyleaf Books

752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd · Chapel Hill, NC

What we're about

This is a casual and friendly book club that meets monthly at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. We alternate between fiction and non-fiction selections and choose our books democratically via polls. Book suggestions are always welcome and appreciated! Flyleaf Books offers a 20% discount on books selected for our discussions!

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