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Ashley Nelson Levy's new novel, Immediate Family, sounds like a study in tension that runs on pure "frustration and resentment," according to more than one reviewer. The white narrator's adopted Thai brother asks her to give a speech at his wedding, and then the rest of the book is the narrator's reply to that question. In her response, she rolls through the whole fraught story of interracial adoption while telling a parallel story of her own struggles with infertility. Along the way, the book's intensity yields to surprising moments of affectionate humor, as at a family reunion when Uncle Steven makes a joke about grandma in the middle of a giant fight, and then everyone cracks up, except for grandma, of course, who can't help but smile. Necessary reading before obligatory family trips start in a few months, assuming the Delta tide recedes at some point.

Elliott Bay Book Company will host this virtual reading and discussion on Tuesday, August 17 at 6 PM. Find tickets here.