In Hoque’s new memoir, Olive Witch, the reader finds Abeer, a Bangladeshi girl growing up in a small sunlit university town in Nigeria where the red clay earth, corporal punishment and running games are facts of life. At thirteen she moves with her family to suburban Pittsburgh and finds herself surrounded by clouded skies and high schoolers who speak in movie quotes and pop culture slang. Finding her place as a young woman in America proves more difficult than she can imagine. Disassociated from her parents and laid low by academic pressure and a spiraling depression, she is committed to a psychiatric ward in Philadelphia. When she moves to Bangladesh on her own, it proves yet another beginning for someone who is only just getting used to being an outsider – wherever she is. Arresting and beautifully written, with poems and weather conditions framing each chapter, Olive Witch is an intimate memoir about taking the long way home.
The discussion with Abeer Y. Hoque & Deesha Philyaw will be held on Saturday, March 18, at 7:30 pm at City Books, located at 908 Galveston Avenue in Allegheny West. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Discussion with Abeer Y. Hoque & Deesha Philyaw event page.