Rakesh Satyal's "No One Can Pronounce My Name" Revealed as the 2018 "A Novel Idea" Selection

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  12/1/2017

More than 250 people were on hand Friday night to take part in the unveiling of the Deschutes Public Library Foundation’s 15th annual “A Novel Idea… Read Together” selection. The book, Rakesh Satyal’s No One Can Pronounce My Name, takes place in Ohio and follows the lives of several Indian Americans as they struggle with issues of identity, connection and loss while straddling the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. 


“A Novel Idea” is the largest community read program in the state of Oregon. Last year nearly 7,000 county residents read, discussed and attended free cultural and author events at the Library’s six branches and at partnering organizations. With this year’s selection of No One Can Pronounce My Name, the Library anticipates the highly successful program’s continued growth.


“The 2018 ‘A Novel Idea’ selection follows in the footsteps of previous selections by taking us to new places while exploring new cultures,” says Communications & Development Manager Chantal Strobel. “Satyal’s book explores the immigrant experience while using humor in a touching way to delve into a variety of issues. I think readers will appreciate the levity he brings to timely topics,” she continued.


Strobel says the program provides Deschutes County residents with a common forum in which they can discuss ideas, discover culture, create art and explore similarities and differences in a safe and neutral environment.


"A Novel Idea" kicks off on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Downtown Bend Library. That event will be followed by three weeks of programs that explore and expound upon the themes and ideas found in No One Can Pronounce My Name. The programming culminates with a free presentation by author Rakesh Satyal on Sunday, May 6, at 4:00 p.m. at Bend High School. A book signing will follow Satyal’s presentation. Free tickets are required for his talk; they will be made available to the public on April 21 online and in all Deschutes Public Libraries.


Reader’s guides will be available at each of the public libraries in Deschutes County beginning March 21. Free book club kits are available upon request—and while supplies last—by calling 541-312-1032.


About the Book: No One Can Pronounce My Name
Rakesh Satyal’s No One Can Pronounce My Name is a distinctive, funny, and insightful look into the lives of people who must reconcile the strictures of their culture and traditions with their own dreams and desires. It is a humorous and tender multigenerational story about immigrants and outsiders—those trying to find their place in American society and in their own families. BookPage said of the book: “Ambitious in scope, No One Can Pronounce My Name dares to tackle life’s biggest questions, irrespective of nationality. Through a successful blend of pathos and humor, Satyal bravely explores themes of intimacy, identity and sexuality, asking his characters—and his readers—to closely examine the inalienable qualities that make us all human. With emotionally charged prose, he masterfully depicts the modern-day immigrant experience in a manner that is both deeply personal and universally relatable, transforming the foreign into the familiar.”


About the Author: Rakesh Satyal
Rakesh Satyal is the author of Blue Boy, which won the 2000 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction and the 2010 Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. Satyal was a recipient of a 2010 Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and two fellowships from the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony. His writing has appeared in New York magazine, Vulture, Out magazine, and The Awl. A graduate of Princeton University, he has taught in the publishing program at New York University and has been on the advisory committee for the annual PEN World Voices Festival. He lives in Brooklyn.

For more information about A Novel Idea, please contact Liz Goodrich at (541) 312-1032 or Check out the “A Novel Idea” website at for event listings as they are scheduled and for author information.


Page Last Modified Wednesday, June 23, 2021