Lectures from the Allen Room & Wertheim Study: The Lovers and the Leavers : Readings from a Novel in Stories
“You know when you’re hungry and you want some rice?
Well, before you eat, there is love. It comes even before your hunger.”
Komola is a maid from rural Bangladesh working in Dhaka. “Before You Eat” is the beginning of her love story with a handsome mysterious man which continues ominously in “After the Love.” In “Alo,” Komola’s nephew is a preternaturally gifted little boy with a terrible secret. The older son of her employers crashes and burns in “The Beauty of Belonging,” while the younger, Tahsin, falls for an American woman in “Wax Doll.” Over the course of twelve stories, The Lovers and the Leavers visits characters whose lives intersect over the years and continents. It’s about the ways we build each other up and break ourselves down, no matter who we are, where we live, or whether we know better.
Abeer Hoque, a writer in residence at the Library’s Wertheim Study, is a Nigerian born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer. She is the recipient of a 2012 NEA Literature Fellowship and a 2007 Fulbright Scholarship, and has won fellowships to attend Sacatar, Saltonstall Arts Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Albee Foundation Art Residency. She has published a novel in stories, The Lovers and the Leavers (Bengal Lights Books, 2014) and a coffee table book of travel photographs and poems, The Long Way Home (Ogro Publishing Bangladesh, 2013). Her manuscripts in progress include a novel about memory loss, a nonfiction book set in northern Nigeria, a collection of travel themed erotic short stories, and a memoir. Her writing and photography have been published in Guernica, ZYZZYVA, 580 Split, the Daily Star, Your Impossible Voice, Outlook Traveller, the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, India Today, and KQED Writers Block, among others. She has BS and MA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco.