International Book Club: Mona: A Novel by Pola Oloixarac

 
Monday
September 19th
7pm

 
McNally Jackson Virtual & In-Person Event
 

On Monday, September 19th, at 7 p.m., join us to discuss Mona: a Novel by Argentine author Pola Oloixarac, the critically acclaimed author of Savage Theories and Dark Constellations. Mona revolves around how success as a “writer of color” proves to be a fresh hell for a young Latin American woman at a literary conference in Sweden. For this event we're trying a hybrid model; people can attend in person at our Prince Street store or attend via Zoom. As always, if you haven't finished a book before our meeting time, please consider attending regardless.

Mona, a Peruvian writer based in California, presents a tough and sardonic exterior. She likes drugs and cigarettes, and when she learns that she is something of an anthropological curiosity—a woman writer of color treasured at her university for the flourish of rarefied diversity she brings—she pokes fun at American academic culture and its fixation on identity.

When she is nominated for “the most important literary award in Europe,” Mona sees a chance to escape her downward spiral of sunlit substance abuse and erotic distraction, so she trades the temptations of California for a small, gray village in Sweden, close to the Arctic Circle. Now she is stuck in the company of all her jet-lagged—and mostly male—competitors, arriving from Japan, France, Armenia, Iran, and Colombia. Isolated as they are, the writers do what writers do: exchange compliments, nurse envy and private resentments, stab rivals in the back, and hop in bed together. All the while, Mona keeps stumbling across the mysterious traces of a violence she cannot explain.

As her adventures in Scandinavia unfold, Mona finds that she has not so much escaped her demons as locked herself up with them in the middle of nowhere. In Mona, Pola Oloixarac paints a hypnotic, scabrous, and ultimately jaw-dropping portrait of a woman facing down a hipster elite to which she does and does not belong. A survivor of both patronization and bizarre sexual encounters, Mona is a new kind of feminist. But her past won’t stay past, and strange forces are working to deliver her the test of a lifetime.

 

"Both a wicked satire of the literary élite and an exploration of art and violence . . . The novel is the kind that Mona imagines writing: 'terrifying, brilliant, and dangerous.'" The New Yorker
 

"Both a wicked satire of the literary élite and an exploration of art and violence . . . The novel is the kind that Mona imagines writing: 'terrifying, brilliant, and dangerous.'" The New Yorker

"Beneath her irony and glamor, one gets the sense that much of Mona’s life is spent seeking out ways to staunch different kinds of pain. The book’s end provides startling, perfect chaos, with Mona’s world ripping apart exactly in a way you think it won’t." Keziah Weir, Vanity Fair
 

 

 

Buy the Book: 
Mona: A Novel By Pola Oloixarac, Adam Morris (Translated by) Cover Image
By Pola Oloixarac, Adam Morris (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250829573
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Picador - March 15th, 2022