Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is The Ruby's late-April Writer in Residence. The Ruby's Writer in Residence program seeks to support the best writers writing, and to bring writers from outside the Bay Area to The Ruby to read. Join us for a conversation with Azareen about her new novel, Call Me Zebra.
About Call Me Zebra
Most Anticipated from: Entertainment Weekly, Boston Globe, Harper's Bazaar, Nylon, Fast Company, Bitch, The Millions, Bustle, Electric Literature, Hello Giggles, Vol. 1 Brooklyn,Shondaland, Publishers Weekly, and Read It Forward
"Splendidly eccentric...Hearken ye fellow misfits, migrants, outcasts, squint-eyed bibliophiles, library-haunters and book stall-stalkers: Here is a novel for you.”—Wall Street Journal
From an award-winning young author, a novel following a feisty heroine’s quest to reclaim her past through the power of literature—even as she navigates the murkier mysteries of love.
Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn’t fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago.
Books are Zebra’s only companions—until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. Zebra overwhelms him with her complex literary theories, her concern with death, and her obsession with history. He thinks she’s unhinged; she thinks he’s pedantic. Neither are wrong; neither can let the other go. They push and pull their way across the Mediterranean, wondering with each turn if their love, or lust, can free Zebra from her past.
An adventure tale, a love story, and a paean to the power of language and literature starring a heroine as quirky as Don Quixote, as introspective as Virginia Woolf, as whip-smart as Miranda July, and as spirited as Frances Ha, Call Me Zebra will establish Van der Vliet Oloomi as an author “on the verge of developing a whole new literature movement” (Bustle).
About Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi
Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Fra Keeler(Dorothy, a publishing project) and Call Me Zebra (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers' Award, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship in Fiction to Catalonia, Spain. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, GRANTA, Guernica, BOMB, and the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, among other places. She has lived in Iran, Spain, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, and currently teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame. She splits her time between South Bend, Indiana and Florence, Italy. Fra Keeler was published in Italian by Giulio Perrone Editore in 2015.