Sunil Yapa will read from his debut novel,
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
The Jenny McKean Moore Reading Series
Wednesday, February 8th, 7:30 PM
A novel set amid the heated conflict of Seattle's 1999 World Trade Organization protests.
On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor—a boyish, scrappy world traveler who's run away from home—sets out to sell marijuana to the 50,000 anti-globalization protestors gathered in the streets. It quickly becomes clear that the throng determined to shut the city down—from environmentalists to teamsters to anarchists—are testing the patience of the police, and what started as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence. Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the lives of seven people will change forever
The biracial son of a Sri Lankan father and a mother from Montana, Yapa has lived around the world, including The Netherlands, Thailand, Greece, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, China, and India, as well as, London, Montreal, and New York City. He is currently 39 years old and lives alone in upstate New York. He received his MFA in Fiction from Hunter College in New York City in 2010, where he worked with two-time Booker Prize winning author Peter Carey, and the 2009 National Book Award winner (Let the Great World Spin) Colum McCann.
The winner of the 2010 Asian American short story award, while at Hunter College, Sunil was also awarded the Alumni Scholarship & Welfare Fund Fellowship, which is given to one fiction student every three years, and was twice selected as a Hertog Fellow, working as a research assistant for Zadie Smith (Changing My Mind), as well as Ben Marcus (The Flame Alphabet). He is the recipient of the 2010 Asian American Short Story Award, sponsored by Hyphen Magazine and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York, and has received scholarships to The New York State Summer Writers’ Institute, The Norman Mailer Writers’ Center in Provincetown and The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Yapa’s work has appeared in Guernica, American Short Fiction, The Margins, Hyphen, LitHub and others. His writing has appeared in Guernica, American Short Fiction, The Margins, Hyphen Magazine, The Tottenville Review, Pindeldyboz: Stories that Defy Classification, and others.
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist is a Time Magazine Best Books of the Year, so far, and an Amazon Best Books of the year, so far, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, and an Indies Next Pick.
“Fast-paced and unflinching…Yapa vividly evokes rage and compassion.”
“Yapa’s melding of fact and fiction, human frailty and geopolitics, is a genuine tour-de-force.”-The Seattle Times
"A symphony of a novel. Sunil Yapa inhabits the skins of characters vastly different to himself: a riot cop in Seattle, a punk activist, a disillusioned world traveler and a high-level diplomat, among others. Through it all Yapa showcases a raw and rare talent. This is a protest novel which finds, at its core, a deep and abiding regard for the music of what happens. In the contemporary tradition of Aleksandar Hemon and Phillipp Meyer, with echoes of Michael Ondaatje and Arundhati Roy, Yapa strives forward with a literary molotov cocktail to light up the dark." —Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin
"YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE THE SIZE OF A FIST is visceral, horrifying, and often heroic. But above all, this book is a full-throated chorus of voices on all sides—protestors, cops, delegates, politicians, and ramblers—as democracy runs headlong into the machinery of global power. Sunil Yapa has achieved something special, a story that is as tragic as it is relevant, as unflinching as it is humane." —Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek
"YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE THE SIZE OF A FIST is a stunningly orchestrated, symphonic work of narrative power. This novel marshals all the vital forces of our existence—from the domestic to the political—and offers them to the reader with equal doses of compassion and beauty." —Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names
"There is nothing to say about Sunil Yapa's debut novel that its wonderful title doesn't already promise—its heart beats and bleeds on every page, in prose so raw it feels built of muscle and tissue and sinew and sweat. This book is delightfully, forcefully alive, and I feel more alive for having read it." —Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints
"An open-armed love letter to humanity, this glorious novel loops around a burning center encompassing the warmth of parents and the coolness of patriarchy. YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE THE SIZE OF A FIST will compel you to look and then to witness. 'We are mad with hope' the narrator says early on, and by the end the reader is too." —Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning
"Sunil Yapa's debut novel is possibly the most gorgeous book I've read in my entire life… Yapa's pattern of meandering, artful, full-bodied imagery, punctuated by zingy one-liners makes for a seriously addictive read… It's painful. It's gorgeous. I can't say this enough: read it." —Bustle Magazine
"A vital, powerful read, YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE THE SIZE OF A FIST is an absorbing, multi-faceted, acutely hopeful novel." —Patrick deWitt, author of Undermajordomo Minor and The Sisters Brothers