Farah Ali - "The River, the Town" - Faisal Mohyuddin

Thursday, October 19, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Farah Ali

Farah Ali will discuss The River, the Town. She will be joined in conversation by Faisal Mohyuddin.

This event will be held in person at 57th Street Books.


About the book: In the rural town in Pakistan where Baadal grows up, children are named like talismans to sustain life and ward off unhappiness. At seventeen, Baadal has come to understand why his parents gave him that name, with hopes that their Big River will one day flow wide again, and their thirst will be quenched after years of drought. But in the final year of his schooling, abundance seems impossibly far away. As his parents' marriage--full of rage, despair, and often violence--reaches a breaking point, the only comfort Baadal can afford is a budding kinship with Meena, a divorced older woman he meets on the banks of the drying river. Meena has only just escaped her abusive husband, but her resistance to remarry soon gives way to the promise of stability and companionship that Baadal offers. Together, they leave the Town in search of greater fortunes in the City. 

Told in rotating perspectives spanning from 1966 to 1998, The River, the Town is an intimate portrait of a family unraveling in the throes of indigence, and a tribute to the wounded love that keeps them tethered to each other. With stark and candid prose, Farah Ali traces one family's fortunes to illuminate the relentless cycle of inequity, juxtaposing the tragic and grueling realities of poverty with the enduring struggle for compassion and humanity.

About the author: Farah Ali is the writer of the short-story collection People Want to Live. Her work has been anthologized in Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize where it has also received special mention. Her stories have appeared in Shenandoah, Kenyon Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere. Her novel, The River, the Town, is forthcoming in 2023.

About the interlocutor: Faisal Mohyuddin is the author of the forthcoming poetry chapbook An End to Captivity (Next Page, 2024) and an earlier chapbook The Riddle of Longing (Backbone, 2017). His first full-length collection The Displaced Children of Displaced Children (Eyewear, 2018) was selected as a Recommendation of the Poetry Book Society and named a "commendable" book of the year by the Forward Arts Foundation. He teaches English at Highland Park High School in Illinois and creative writing at the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University, and he serves as a Master Practitioner with the global not-for-profit. Find more at www.faisalmohyuddin.com

Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637