Juan Martinez: Best Worst American
Join us Wednesday, June 10 at 6:30 pm Central for a Virtual Book Discussion hosted by Chicago Council of the American Writers Museum members Olivia Bedi, Heather Grove, and Katy Mickelson. We’ll discuss the short story collection Best Worst American by Juan Martinez and even hear from Juan himself! We will also introduce you to our virtual exhibit “My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today,” where Juan and his book are featured.
About Best Worst American:
These are the best Americans, the worst Americans. In these stories (these cities, these people) there are labyrinths, rivers, wildernesses. Voices sound slightly different than expected. There’s humor, but it’s going to hurt.
In “On Paradise,” a petshop manager flies with his cat to Las Vegas to meet his long-lost mother and grandmother, only to find that the women look exactly like they did forty years before. In “The Spooky Japanese Girl is There For You,” the spooky Japanese girl (a ghost) is there for you, then she is not.
These refreshing and invigorating stories of displacement, exile, and identity, of men who find themselves confused by the presence or absence of extraordinary women, jump up, demand to be read, and send the reader back to the earth changed: reminded from these short stories how big the world is.
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Juan Martinez is the author of “Best Worst American” and a professor at Northwestern University. He was born in Colombia and became a U.S. citizen in 2016. Martinez has been living in Chicago for about six years.