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About Neon Green:

It's the summer of 1994 in suburban Chicago: Forrest Gump is still in theaters, teens are reeling from the recent death of Kurt Cobain, and you can enter a sweepstakes for a spaceship from Jupiter to land in your backyard. Welcome to Margaret Wappler's slightly altered 90s. Everything's pretty much the way you remember it, except for the aliens.

When a flying saucer lands in the Allens' backyard, family patriarch and environmental activist Ernest is up in arms. According to the company facilitating the visits, the spaceship is 100 percent non-toxic, but as Ernest's panic increases, so do his questions: What are the effects of longterm exposure to the saucer and why is it really here?

The family starts logging the spaceship’s daily fits and starts but it doesn't get them any closer to figuring out the spaceship's comically erratic behavior. Ernest’s wife Cynthia and their children, Alison and Gabe, are less concerned with the saucer, and more worried about their father’s growing paranoia (not to mention their mundane, suburban existences). Set before the arrival of the internet, Neon Green will stun, unnerve, and charm readers with its loving depiction of a suburban family living on the cusp of the future.

Praise for Neon Green:

“Funny, sad, weird, timely: in Neon Green, Wappler mixes up her own distinct cocktail of these into a substantive and affecting debut.” —Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

"Part historical novel, part alternative history, Neon Green captures the suburban-American experience at the cusp of the Internet Age, and asks its readers to consider what unites— and what threatens— a family. Strange yet accessible, goofy yet also, somehow, heartbreaking, this wonderfully original novel made me see everything around me in a new beguiling light: from my own family to the big unknowable sky above me. A debut to be reckoned with.” —Edan Lepucki, author of California

"Neon Green is a time capsule: it captures a moment, a slice of recent history, a feeling, a way of life. Wappler writes with humor, warmth, and intelligence. Filled with jewel-like sentences and insights that add up to a rewarding and deeply affecting novel." —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe

"The story of an American family's confusion, pain, and joy is given an ingenious new form in Wappler's assured debut. Deeply moving, unsentimentally nostalgic, surreal, and hilarious, her alternate 1990s unravels the curiosities and sufferings that reveal our character and transform our souls." —J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

"Neon Green is an extraordinary, inventive literary triumph. Margaret Wappler's breakthrough novel of a family coming to terms with modern life is deftly written, uniquely hilarious, and unexpectedly heartbreaking. Evoking the imaginative pleasures of Lydia Davis, Aimee Bender, and Don DeLillo, Neon Green depicts family life, environmentalism, marriage, illness, and spaceships with ingenuity and sophistication." —Joe Meno, author of The Great Perhaps

Author Bio: 


Margaret Wappler has written about the arts and pop culture for the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Elle, The Believer, The Village Voice, and several other publications. Her work has appeared in Black Clock, Public Fiction, and the anthology Joyland Retro. Neon Green is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles.

Deji Bryce Olukotun graduated from the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, where he was taught by South African writers André Brink, Mike Nicol, Andre Wiesner, and Henrietta Rose-Innes. He also holds degrees from Yale College and Stanford Law School. His novel Nigerians in Space, a thriller about brain drain from Africa, was published by Unnamed Press in 2014. His short story "We Are the Olfanauts" was published in the fiction collection Watchlist: 32 Short Stories by Persons of Interest in 2015 (O/R Books). His work has been featured in Electric Literature, Quartz, Vice, Slate, GigaOm, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Atlantic, Guernica, The Millions, World Literature Today, ESPN, Chimurenga, Global Voices, Joyland, Words Without Borders, Alternet, Huffington Post, PEN America, The London Magazine, Molussus, The Beat, and Men’s Health. Deji is an attorney with a background in human rights and technology. He has traveled to over 25 countries and offers deep work experience in South Africa, Myanmar, and Haiti. He currently works at the digital rights organization Access Now, where he drives campaigns on net neutrality and surveillance. Before that, he fought for free expression and the defense of writers around the world at PEN American Center with support from the Ford Foundation.

Margaret Wappler with Deji Bryce Olukotun
Neon Green: A Novel
Thu Aug 4, 7:00PM
Event Type: 
Fiction
On the Docket: 
Reading
Audience Q&A
Book Signing