Alison Stewart, host of WNYC’s All Of It, continues her virtual book club series with author Nghi Vo.
Our August pick, Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful, puts a magical realism lens on a classic story in what NPR calls “a vibrant and queer reinvention of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s [The Great Gatsby].” In this ingenious sequel to the American classic, we meet a new, yet familiar protagonist.
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society, she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
To help transport us back to the Jazz Age, our musical guest will be acclaimed pianist and 2019 Cole Porter Fellow, Emmet Cohen.
How it Works
- Get the book, reach out to a friend to join, and read along with Alison and Team All Of It
- Follow @allofitwnyc on Instagram where you’ll find polls, questions, fun facts and pictures of other readers
- Watch the live video stream here on this page as Alison talks with the author
Viewers are encouraged to submit their questions for the author on Twitter and Instagram.
All Of It teams up with the New York Public Library so that New Yorkers can access the book for free through the NYPL app.
Credit: Photo provided by guest.
Nghi Vo is the author of the acclaimed novellas When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a Hugo Award and Ignyte Award finalist and the winner of the Crawford Award. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind. The Chosen and the Beautiful is her debut novel.
Credit: Photo provided by guest.
Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen is one of his generation’s pivotal figures in music and the related arts. Downbeat praised the “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary” he employs to communicate with other musicians and audiences at what he terms “the deepest level of humanity and individuality.” Leader of the “Emmet Cohen Trio” and creator of the “Masters Legacy Series,” Cohen is an internationally acclaimed jazz artist and dedicated music educator.
Emmet Cohen is the winner of the 2019 American Pianists Awards and the Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association, and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis. He was a finalist in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. Cohen has appeared at major international jazz festivals and at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall and Washington’s Kennedy Center, in addition to headlining at the Village Vanguard and other major New York jazz clubs. For many years he was Hammond B-3 Organist-in-Residence at
Harlem’s SMOKE jazz club. During the lockdown he created “Live From Emmet’s Place,” a weekly livestream that received millions of internet views worldwide. Cohen is a Mack Avenue artist.
A Suzuki piano student at age three, Cohen holds jazz piano degrees from the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) and the University of Miami (B.M.). Emmet Cohen has performed, recorded, or collaborated with Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Cobb, George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, Tootie Heath, Houston Person, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Herlin Riley, Lea DeLaria, and Bill T. Jones.