We're pleased to welcome Salma El-Wardany & Leesa Cross-Smith to our At Home with Literati Series in support of their recent titles, The Impossible Things & Half-Blown Rose. This event is presented in partnership w/ Grand Central Publishing's Sizzling Summer Reads program.
Click here to join the webinar event on 7/11. No pre-registration required!
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About The Impossible Things: A razor‑sharp debut novel of three best friends navigating love, sex, faith, and the one night that changes it all.
It’s always been Malak, Kees, and Jenna against the world. Since childhood, under the watchful eyes of their parents, aunties and uncles, they’ve learned to live their own lives alongside the expectations of being good Muslim women. Staying over at a boyfriend's place is disguised as a best friend’s sleepover, and tiredness can be blamed on studying instead of partying. They know they’re existing in a perfect moment. With growing older and the stakes of love and life growing higher, the delicate balancing act between rebellion and religion is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.
Malak wants the dream: for her partner, community, and faith to coexist happily, and she wants this so much she's willing to break her own heart to get it. Kees is in love with Harry, a white Catholic man who her parents can never know about. When he proposes, she must decide between her future happiness and the life she knows and family she loves. Jenna is the life of the party, always ready for new pleasures, even though she’s plagued by a loneliness she can’t shake. Through it all, they have always had each other. But as their college years come to a close, one night changes everything when harsh truths are revealed.
As their lives begin to take different paths, Malak, Kees, and Jenna—now on the precipice of true adulthood—must find a way back to each other as they reconcile faith, family, and tradition with their own needs and desires. These Impossible Things is a paean to youth and female friendship—and to all the joy and messiness love holds.
About Half-Blown Rose: An irresistible story of a woman remaking her life after her husband’s betrayal leads to a year of travel, art, and passion in Paris, from the award-winning author of This Close to Okay.
Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art museum; she has a vibrant group of friends; and she’s even caught the eye of a young, charismatic man named Loup. But Vincent is also in Paris to escape a painful betrayal: her husband, Cillian, has published a bestselling book divulging secrets about their marriage and his own past, hinting that when he was a teenager, he may have had a child with a young woman back in Dublin—before he moved to California and never returned.
Now estranged from her husband, Vincent has agreed to see Cillian again at their son’s wedding the following summer, but Loup introduces new complications. Soon they begin an intense affair, and somewhere between dinners made together, cigarettes smoked in the moonlight, hazy evenings in nightclubs, and long, starry walks along the Seine, Vincent feels herself loosening and blossoming.
In a journey that is both transportive and intimate, Half-Blown Rose traverses Paris, art, travel, liminal spaces, and the messy complexities of relationships and romance, with excerpts from Cillian’s novel, playlists, and journal entries woven throughout. As Cillian does all he can to win her back, Vincent must decide what she wants . . . and who she will be.
Salma El‑Wardany is a writer, poet, and BBC broadcaster. As a half‑Egyptian, half‑Irish woman her work focuses on telling the stories of women, especially women of color, that have for so long been ignored. She has contributed to the anthology It’s Not About the Burqa, and her writing has also appeared in Huffington Post, theMetro and she has given two TedxTalks.