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Xóchitl González Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Olga Dies Dreaming (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Anita de Monte Laughs Last (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Xochitl Gonzalez is an American author, screnwriter and producer. She made her writing debut in the world of books in 2022 with the publication of her first novel, Olga Dies Dreaming. The book was a major success critically and commercially, landing on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

The author was born in New York City to a Puerto Rican mother and Mexican-American father. She was raised in the area between Bensonhurst and Borough Park by her grandparents. Olga’s parents were both politically active as they were activists in the Socialist Workers Party. Her mother ran for office in the Socialist Workers Party and also had extensive experience as a union organizer.

In her own life, Xochitl attended public schools in New York before earning a scholarship to Brown University. While she had an interest in creative writing and wanted to study it, she eventually settled on majoring in art history. Her time at Brown was rather transformative for her in her life. She has said that Brown was only four hours away from where she lived by car, but it was a lifetime by way of cultural journey. She enjoyed her time in Brooklyn, but had dreamt of escape for a long time and this was her moment. Xochitl earned her B.A. in Fine Art.

After her studies, Gonzalez was an entrepreneur and strategic consultant. She worked in this area for a number of years before deciding to return to school to study writing. She went to the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow. She earned her MFA while studying there and also won the Michener-Copernicus Prize in Fiction. She began writing Olga Dies Dreaming while at school and the book had strong enough buzz around it that she was able to sign a two-book deal with a publisher. Olga Dies Dreaming was her first novel under that deal and with the advance she was able to return to New York.

The author has said that once they turned 40 years old that they were scared of not doing the thing that they had always wanted to do. This is what put them on the path to going to Iowa and leaving their life in New York in order to learn more about writing.

Xochitl would go on to win the 2019 Disquiet Literary Prize. She then began having her work published in a variety of publications, including Bustle, Vogue, and The Cut. She also began writing a weekly newsletter for The Atlantic called “Brooklyn, Everywhere” which focused on the topic of gentrification. In addition to her writing work, Gonzalez serves on the Board of the Lower East Side Girls Club.

She got her job at The Atlantic after Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic’s editor in chief, read her book and was smitten by it. The two ended up setting up a Zoom meeting where he asked her if she would contribute a weekly newsletter. This lead to “Brooklyn, Everywhere” and she said yes because it was something that felt good to her.

Olga Dies of Dreaming, the debut novel from Xochitl Gonzalez, was published in 2022. The book received positive reviews from many publications, including The Washington Post, Jezebel, and Kirkus Reviews. It was considered to be one of the most anticipated books of the year by publications such as Goodreads, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Bustle, Kirkus, Book Riot, Popsugar, and Barnes & Noble.

The book was optioned for adaptation with Xochitl serving as a writer and co-executive producer on the series. The pilot was developed by filmmaker Alfonso Gómez-Rejón with Aubrey Plaza and Ramon Rodriguez starring as the lead characters.

Olga Dies Dreaming is a tale of a status-driven wedding planner who is dealing with her social ambitions, absent mother, and her roots as Puerto Rican during the wake of Hurricane Maria. The book takes place in 2017 as Olga and her brother Prieto are well known around New York. Prieto is a congressman who represents their gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn. Olga is an in-demand wedding planner who does weddings for the biggest and most powerful people in New York City.

The two are well known and appear to have glamorous lives, but behind the scenes things aren’t quite as great as they seem. Olga is great at helping other people in love make their special day great, but she struggles finding love in her own life. Her luck changes when she meets Matteo, but with the new relationship also comes the need to confront some long-held family secrets.

Blanca, the siblings’ mother, abandoned her children when they were younger in order to advance a militant political cause. The two were raised by their grandmother, but now Blanca has returned to town which wreaks havoc on their lives.

The book takes place in New York City in the months around the devastating Hurricane Maria which did long-lasting damage on Puerto Rico. Xochitl Gonzalez’s book examines political corruption, family drama, and the notion of the American dream as her characters weather the storm in Puerto Rico and in their own lives.

Olga Dies Dreaming is also based in part on her own life. She did work in Brooklyn as a wedding planner where she helped to plan weddings for the founders of Vice and Acne Jeans and the original investors of Instagram. She enjoyed the work, but after the 2008 recession she found it less creative and more like something that intellectually stymied her, but she wasn’t sure what else to do. It is also true that in her own life her mother was politically active and left her to her grandparents at a young age. They never had a great relationship, it was much more like the one that Olga has with Blanca in the book.

She has said that writing the book wasn’t therapy, but a form of “micro catharsis” that helped her deal with certain aspects of her life.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Xóchitl González

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