Call Me Zebra: Book summary and reviews of Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Call Me Zebra

by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi X
Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2018
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From an award-winning young author, a novel following a feisty heroine's quest to reclaim her past through the power of literature - even as she navigates the murkier mysteries of love.

Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn't fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago.

Books are Zebra's only companions - until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. Zebra overwhelms him with her complex literary theories, her concern with death, and her obsession with history. He thinks she's unhinged; she thinks he's pedantic. Neither are wrong; neither can let the other go. They push and pull their way across the Mediterranean, wondering with each turn if their love, or lust, can free Zebra from her past.

An adventure tale, a love story, and a paean to the power of language and literature starring a heroine as quirky as Don Quixote, as introspective as Virginia Woolf, as whip-smart as Miranda July, and as spirited as Frances Ha, Call Me Zebra will establish Van der Vliet Oloomi as an author "on the verge of developing a whole new literature movement" (Bustle).

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is a sharp and genuinely fun picaresque, employing humor and poignancy side-by-side to tell an original and memorable story." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. This is a brilliant, demented, and bizarro book that demands and rewards all the attention a reader might dare to give it." - Kirkus

"An arresting exploration of grief alongside a powder keg of a romance." - Booklist

"This fierce meditation on life and love, a tour de force by self-proclaimed literary terrorist Oloomi (Fra Keeler), is one that many will read and reread." - Library Journal

"Zebra is exile as education, history as passion, life as literature, and literature as death." - Tom McCarthy, author of the Man Booker Prize-finalist Satin Island and Remainder

"Call Me Zebra is like nothing else I've read, geo-political and bookish and sexy, quite refreshingly nuts and yet a ripping good read. Also, there's a stolen bird! I'd say I couldn't put it down, but Zebra would never approve a cliche, so I'll pay it a compliment she might actually accept: this book metabolized me." - Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First

"There's something really radical about this epic and ecstatic quest. It's in the tradition of Cervantes' ingenious nobleman, but also deeply in conversation with Borges's Pierre Menard and Kathy Acker's own Don Quixote... A hilarious picaresque, perverse and voracious." - Kate Zambreno, author of Heroines and Green Girl

"Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, the author of Call Me Zebra, has written a marvelous book that is at once contemporary, in conversation with fiction writers such as Valeria Luiselli and Rachel Kushner, and simultaneously reaches back to the eccentric talkers and characters in the work of Vladimir Nabokov and Italo Svevo." - Roger Reeves, author of King Me

"This novel is not about a zebra but about a whole sharp, amazing, malicious and wicked zoo. Please enjoy responsibly." - Quim Monzó, author of A Thousand Morons and supporting character in the novel Call Me Zebra

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Author Information

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the novels Fra Keeler and Call Me Zebra, and an Assistant Professor in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame. She is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers' Award, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, and the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, as well as residency fellowships from MacDowell and Ledig House. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, Guernica, Granta, BOMB, and elsewhere. She has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Tehran, Dubai, Valencia, Barcelona, and currently splits her time between South Bend, Indiana and Florence, Italy.

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