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Tom Piazza and Jonathan Santlofer appear at Octavia Books

The writers discuss a new book on the American experience Jan. 30

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Editor Jonathan Santlofer began working on IT OCCURS TO ME THAT I AM AMERICA: New Stories and Art following the election of President Donald Trump. The collection features essays and fiction by Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Theroux, Alice Walker, Louise Erdrich, Russell Banks, Philip Gourevitch and others. Some contributions address immigration, including poet Ha Jin's reflections on discovering inequality in China and being stranded in the U.S. after criticizing the Chinese government in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Journalist Mark Di Ionno compares a recent immigrant's story to that of his grandfather who left Italy for Ellis Island. Other works reflect on the ideas and meaning of being American. There also are cartoons and illustrated pieces by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and innovative graphic novelist Art Spiegelman. Local novelist Tom Piazza (pictured) contributed the short story "Bystanders (April 2003)." Piazza and Santlofer discuss the book at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books. 513 Octavia St., (504) 899-7323; www.octaviabooks.com.

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