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Check This Out: Vauhini Vara discusses her debut collection of stories 'This is Salvaged'

Vara’s story collection, This is Salvaged (Norton, 2023) was named by The New Yorker, Publisher’s Weekly, Vox, and the New York Public Library as one of the best books of the year.
Vauhuini Vara
Vara’s story collection, This is Salvaged (Norton, 2023) was named by The New Yorker, Publisher’s Weekly, Vox, and the New York Public Library as one of the best books of the year.

Check This Out is a seasonal, literary series airing each spring and fall. Stayed tuned for more conversations with emerging and diverse authors beginning in April 2024.

Vauhini Vara’s story collection, "This is Salvaged" has been named by The New Yorker, Publisher’s Weekly, Vox, and the New York Public Library as one of the best books of the year.

While each story is independent, all her characters are searching for meaning through one another. In one story, a young girl reads the encyclopedia to her elderly neighbor, who is descending into dementia. In another, a pair of teenagers seek intimacy as phone-sex operators. Vara writes about a competitive sibling who tries to rise above the drunken mess of her own life to become a loving aunt. And, in the title story, an experimental artist takes on his most ambitious project yet: constructing a life-size ark according to the Bible’s specifications.

These stories are wild, at times wacky, and you will read them quickly one after the other as Vara asks in each vignette: How can we connect to one another, to this world, to this life?

Vara is a journalist and editor. She's also a Visiting Assistant professor of English at Colorado State University.

Rachel Barenbaum is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels <i>Atomic Anna&nbsp;</i>and <i>A Bend in the Stars.&nbsp;</i>She<i>&nbsp;</i>is a prolific writer and reviewer. Her work has appeared in the LA Review of Books, Harper’s Bazaar, and more.

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