Monday, March 20, 2023

Asale Angel-Ajani's "A Country You Can Leave"

Asale Angel-Ajani is a writer and Professor at The City College of New York. She's the author of the nonfiction books Strange Trade: The Story of Two Women Who Risked Everything in the International Drug Trade and Intimate: Essays on Racial Terror. She has held residencies at Millay, Djerassi, and Playa, and is an alum of VONA and Tin House.

Here Angel-Ajani dreamcasts an adaptation of A Country You Can Leave, her first novel:
A Country You Can Leave tells the story of Lara, a biracial Afro-Cuban-Russian girl, and her Russian mother, Yevgenia. It opens with their arrival at the Oasis Mobil Estates, a somewhat ne’re-do-well community located in the California Desert. As a mother and daughter duo trying to figure out their place in America, the novel is part love story and part a story of coming of age under difficult circumstances. But it’s also a novel of dark humor and outrageous characters that, I hope, stay with you for a long while.

As my novel is set in the desert, I imagine one of those films that have to convey the heat and the stretch of open blue skies in a way that was both artful and realistic. The actresses that I think would be great at playing the central mother and daughter characters would be Charlize Theron, playing the complex and fierce Russian mother, Yevgenia, and the British actress, Nathalie Emmanuel playing Lara. There is a small part of me that would love to see Zendaya opposite Charlize Theron but I may be overthinking this. But they’d all be great. Of course, Brad Pitt would play himself (just kidding). In my book, my characters do call the cute neighbor, Steve, “Brad Pitt” but that would be a bit too meta.
Visit Asale Angel-Ajani's website.

--Marshal Zeringue