reading from her debut novel
Your Driver Is Waiting
Published by Doubleday
Priya Guns will be joined in conversation with Sarah Thankam Mathews
Damani is tired. Her father just died on the job at a fast-food joint, and now she lives paycheck to paycheck in a basement, caring for her mom and driving for an app that is constantly cutting her take. The city is roiling in protests–everybody’s in solidarity with somebody–but while she keeps hearing that they’re fighting for change on behalf of people like her, she literally can’t afford to pay attention.
Then she gives a ride to Jolene (five stars, obviously). Jolene seems like she could be the perfect girlfriend–attentive, attractive, an ally–and their chemistry is off the charts. Jolene’s done the reading, she goes to every protest, and she says all the right things. So maybe Damani can look past the one thing that’s holding her back: she’s never dated anyone with money before, not to mention a white girl with money. But just as their romance intensifies and Damani finally lets her guard down, Jolene does something unforgivable, setting off an explosive chain of events.
A wild, one-sitting read brimming with dark comedy, and piercing social commentary and announcing Priya Guns’s feverishly original voice, Your Driver Is Waiting is a crackling send-up of our culture of modern alienation.
Priya Guns is an actor and writer previously published in short story anthologies, gal-dem, Spring magazine, and anonymously in the Guardian. She is a Creative Writing graduate from Kingston University. Your Driver Is Waiting is her debut novel.
Sarah Thankam Mathews is the author of All This Could Be Different. The novel, Mathews’ first, was named an NYT Editor’s Choice, highlighted on multiple Best of 2022 lists, and shortlisted for the National Book Award.
Praise for YOUR DRIVER IS WAITING:
“Priya Guns’s Your Driver is Waiting is so real it’s scary. A young woman, living in a nameless city where new causes pop up daily like pubescent pimples, struggles to decide where her true duty––to self, family, humanity––resides. Guns expertly exposes the palpable dangers of ‘well-meaning’ white folks and calls into question who, if anyone, is to be held accountable for the growing ills of modern society. However, she also shows us that a brighter world isn’t in our rear-view, but right in front of us, so long as we choose to drive on. You’ll want to take this ride.”
—Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author of Black Buck
“A ferocious new voice. A fierce and immersive debut. A story that made me rock back and forth with awe. Priya Guns’s voice blazes on the page with humor, heart, and a fortitude that is inspiring to behold. There’s no doubt who’s in the drivers’ seat. I was just grateful to be along for the ride.”
—Weike Wang, author of Joan is Okay and Chemistry
“Your Driver Is Waiting is a perfect gut punch of a novel. This is my favorite kind of writing, full of love and real friendship and frustrations boiled over and the urge to burn everything down. Priya Guns is phenomenal here, her writing is laser-focused and hilarious and full of aching need. This is a hard-hitting masterpiece. I devoured it.”
—Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth and Mostly Dead Things
“A compelling character study with an electrifying ending, Your Driver is Waiting offers a potent social critique overflowing with love, despair, passion, and rage. Priya Guns brings to the page a voice infused with both bravado and vulnerability in this madcap story you won’t want to put down.”
—Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch
“From page one, this novel had its hands around my neck. A voice that is somehow simultaneously fearless and intensely vulnerable. The only thing slicker than her narrator’s driving is Guns’s ability to deliver sharp social commentary that will make you unsure of whether you want to laugh or cry. Your Driver Is Waiting is an unhinged joyride—whether you buckle up or not, you’re sure to be gripping the edge of your seat.”
—Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl
“In powerful and unrelenting prose, Priya Guns’s Your Driver is Waiting has accomplished a nearly impossible feat: scathing social commentary about the inequalities of modern day America in a propulsive, funny and tender story about love, community and loss. Damani is an unforgettable heroine that now lives rent-free in my heart. Welcome her into yours.”
—Cleyvis Natera, author of Neruda on the Park
“Your Driver Is Waiting captures something vital about our contemporary moment, about the millions of lives spent on the margins. It’s deft enough to navigate questions of class, precarity, race and economic displacement, while managing to be so full of hope, full of fight, full of heart.”
—Keiran Goddard, author of Hourglass
“Guns’ sharp and bonkers debut reimagines Taxi Driver for the Uber era…This has plenty of bite.”
—Publishers Weekly ”Six months after her father’s death, ride-share driver Damani endures inconsistent hours, low pay, and disastrous interactions to support herself and her mother…It’s Damani’s ferocious heart that makes Guns’ debut impossible to put down; Damani’s a lover and a fighter, start to finish.”
—Booklist (starred review)
This event was made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation.
To learn more visit this link: https://citylights.com/foundation/