Join us on Thursday, July 20 at 7pm PT when Jamil Jan Kochai and Ingrid Rojas Conteras join us to celebrate the paperback release of their books, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and The Man Who Could Move Clouds, at 9th Ave!
Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online at the link below
Praise for The Haunting of Hajji Hotak
"The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories is an endlessly inventive and moving collection, the work of a thrilling and capacious young talent. These stories surprise and charm and haunt in equal measure, while challenging the world as we think we know it. Jamil Jan Kochai is the real deal."—Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Jamil Jan Kochai is a once-in-a-generation talent.”—Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs
"The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories is beyond brilliant. These stories build and amass, individually and collectively, open then close as if the fingers and palm of some great power making a fist... There is so much range and breadth and depth in this collection. Here we have humor and rage and style in spades, with storytelling as inventive as it is enthralling. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time."—Tommy Orange, author of There, There
About The Haunting of Hajji Hotak
FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION • WINNER OF THE 2023 ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE, AND THE 2023 O. HENRY PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE NEW YORKER'S BEST BOOKS OF 2022
Pen/Hemingway finalist Jamil Jan Kochai breathes life into his contemporary Afghan characters, moving between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora in America. In these arresting stories verging on both comedy and tragedy, often starring young characters whose bravado is matched by their tenderness, Kochai once again captures “a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.”*
In “Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain," a young man's video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father's memories of war and occupation. Set in Kabul, "Return to Sender" follows two married doctors driven by guilt to leave the US and care for their fellow Afghans, even when their own son disappears. A college student in the US in "Hungry Ricky Daddy" starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. And in the title story, "The Haunting of Hajji Hotak," we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family's life.
About Jamil Jan Kochai
Jamil Jan Kochai is the author of The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories, winner of the 2023 Aspen Words Literary Prize and finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His debut novel 99 Nights in Logar was a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories. His essays have been published at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Kochai was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Currently, he is a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.
Praise for The Man Who Could Move Clouds
PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE NOMINEE • CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARDS SILVER MEDAL WINNER • CALIBA Golden Poppy/Martin Cruz Smith Award Finalist
"The Man Who Could Move Clouds is a memoir like no other, mapping memory, myth, and the mysteries and magic of ancestry with stark tenderness and beauty. A dreamlike and literal excavation of the powers of inheritance, Ingrid Rojas Contreras has given us a glorious gift with these pages."—Patricia Engel, author of Infinite Country
"Rojas Contreras's lyrical sentences combined with the authority of her narration held me in a kind of rapture, the sort of reading experience I most crave. What a wise and beautiful memoir, full of wonder and reverence for what the past plants in us, and how surprising and inevitable what blooms."—Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood
About The Man Who Could Move Clouds
For Ingrid Rojas Contreras, magic runs in the family. Raised amid the political violence of 1980s and '90s Colombia, in a house bustling with her mother’s fortune-telling clients, she was a hard child to surprise. Her maternal grandfather, Nono, was a renowned curandero, a community healer gifted with what the family called “the secrets”: the power to talk to the dead, tell the future, treat the sick, and move the clouds. And as the first woman to inherit “the secrets,” Rojas Contreras’ mother was just as powerful. Mami delighted in her ability to appear in two places at once, and she could cast out even the most persistent spirits with nothing more than a glass of water.
This legacy had always felt like it belonged to her mother and grandfather, until, while living in the U.S. in her twenties, Rojas Contreras suffered a head injury that left her with amnesia. As she regained partial memory, her family was excited to tell her that this had happened before: Decades ago Mami had taken a fall that left her with amnesia, too. And when she recovered, she had gained access to “the secrets.”
In 2012, spurred by a shared dream among Mami and her sisters, and her own powerful urge to relearn her family history in the aftermath of her memory loss, Rojas Contreras joins her mother on a journey to Colombia to disinter Nono’s remains. With Mami as her unpredictable, stubborn, and often amusing guide, Rojas Contreras traces her lineage back to her Indigenous and Spanish roots, uncovering the violent and rigid colonial narrative that would eventually break her mestizo family into two camps: those who believe “the secrets” are a gift, and those who are convinced they are a curse.
Interweaving family stories more enchanting than those in any novel, resurrected Colombian history, and her own deeply personal reckonings with the bounds of reality, Rojas Contreras writes her way through the incomprehensible and into her inheritance. The result is a luminous testament to the power of storytelling as a healing art and an invitation to embrace the extraordinary.
About Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor’s choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, and Zyzzyva, among others. She lives in California. Her memoir, THE MAN WHO COULD MOVE CLOUDS, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE 2023 ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE, AND THE 2023 O. HENRY PRIZE
NAMED ONE OF THE NEW YORKER'S BEST BOOKS OF 2022
"An endlessly inventive and moving collection from a thrilling and capacious young talent." —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins.
“Funny, razor-sharp, and full of juicy tales that feel urgent and illicit . . . the author has created a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.” —New York Times Book Review
PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • From the bestselling author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree, comes a dazzling, kaleidoscopic memoir reclaiming her family's otherworldly legacy.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Seven-year-old Chula lives a carefree life in her gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside her walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar reigns, capturing the attention of the nation.