It’s 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, are boldfaced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn, while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s power brokers. Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors, things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the 1 percent but she can’t seem to find her own. . . until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets.
Olga and Prieto’s mother, Blanca, a Young Lord turned radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives. Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Xochitl Gonzalez’s Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife, and the very notion of the American dream―all while asking what it really means to weather a storm.
About Xochitl Gonzalez
Xochitl Gonzalez has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Prize in Fiction. She was the winner of the 2019 Disquiet Literary Prize and her work has been published in Bustle, Vogue, and The Cut. She is a contributor to The Atlantic, where her weekly newsletter “Brooklyn, Everywhere” explores the gentrification of people and places. Her New York Times bestselling debut novel Olga Dies Dreaming was published in January 2022 by Flatiron Books.
Prior to beginning her MFA, Xochitl was an entrepreneur and strategic consultant for nearly 15 years. She serves on the Board of the Lower East Side Girls Club. A native Brooklynite and proud public school graduate, she received her B.A. in Fine Art from Brown University. She lives in her hometown of Brooklyn with her dog, Hectah Lavoe.
Xochitl Gonzalez visited Greenwich Library on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:00 pm to discuss Olga Dies Dreaming.
Suggestions for Further Reading
Younger readers can also be a part of this year’s GRT program! Discover and read books, compiled together by Greenwich Librarians, with themes similar to those in Olga Dies Dreaming: Picture Books | Middle Grade Books | YA Teen Books.
Greenwich Reads Together Founding Organizations
Greenwich Alliance for Education
Greenwich Arts Council
Greenwich Historical Society
Greenwich Pen Women
Greenwich Public & Independent Schools
Perrot Memorial Library
Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich
Greenwich Reads Together is supported by the Friends of the Greenwich Library.
Past Greenwich Reads Together Selections
Deacon King Kong
By James McBride
In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .45 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong.
By Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy is a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. It is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Mountains Beyond Mountains
By Tracy Kidder
This compelling and inspiring book shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man, Dr. Paul Farmer, who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.
By Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury, first published in 1953. Often regarded as one of his best works, the novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found.
By Liza Mundy
Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking.
News of the World
By Paulette Jiles
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
By Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Separated by differing ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London until the pair are reunited in their homeland 15 years later.
Boys in the Boat
By Daniel Brown
Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.
When the Emperor Was Devine
By Julie Otsuka
This is a story told from five different points of view, chronicles the experiences of Japanese Americans caught up in the nightmare of the World War II internment camps.
By Dave Eggers
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, longtime New Orleans residents Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun are cast into an unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.
The Book Thief
By Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel – a young German girl whose book-stealing and storytelling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.