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AUTHORS OF COLOR BOOK CLUB: The Old Drift by Ruby member Namwali Serpell

Jean Rhys said that "reading makes immigrants of us all," that "it takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere." Now more than ever, it's vital—and heartening—to read, and read widely. We'll read thrilling, mind-blowing, intriguing, heartbreaking, comic, strange, and/or provocative books by women of color—and, each month, we'll gather to talk about what we've read! When possible, we'll also have the writer join us.

Our next book is THE OLD DRIFT by our very own Namwali Serpell. We'll be joined by Namwali for the discussion!

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives—their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes—emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction.

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.

Praise for The Old Drift

“An intimate, brainy, gleaming epic . . . This is a dazzling book, as ambitious as any first novel published this decade.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“A founding epic in the vein of Virgil’s Aeneid . . . though in its sprawling size, its flavor of picaresque comedy and its fusion of family lore with national politics it more resembles Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A story that intertwines strangers into families, which we'll follow for a century, magic into everyday moments, and the story of a nation, Zambia.”—NPR

Earlier Event: August 6
4-Week Creativity Series
Later Event: October 19
The Ruby's Fall WEEKEND RETREAT