by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
From an award-winning young author, a novel following a feisty heroine’s idiosyncratic quest to reclaim her past by mining the wisdom of her literary icons—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).
North American publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2018
Foreign rights contact: Allison Devereux, Wolf Literary Services
Film/TV rights contact: Rachel Crawford, Wolf Literary Services
A brilliant, demented, and bizarro book that demands and rewards all the attention a reader might dare to give it.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
[A] rich and delightful novel … 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
An arresting exploration of grief alongside a powder keg of a romance.”—Booklist
Zebra is exile as education, history as passion, life as literature, and literature as death.” —Tom McCarthy, author of Remainder
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. The young female narrator of Call Me Zebra luxuriates in the tradition of Enrique Vila-Matas’s literary sickness, or Kafka writing that he is made entirely of literature. A hilarious picaresque, perverse and voracious.” —Kate Zambreno, author of Heroines and Green Girl
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
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 … this book metabolized me.” —Danielle Dutton