I’ve Got Questions for Gabriel Arquilevich

Grape! by Gabriel Arquilevich
  • What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?

Grape! Fiction. Published September 2019, by Fitzroy Books, an imprint of Regal House Publishing.

  • In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?

Grape! tells the hilarious and touching misadventures of a sweetly troubled kid, the child of Argentine Jews who are, like their son, adjusting to 1970s California.  

  • What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
  • Upper middle-grade fiction.
  • What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?

The nicest thing anyone has said: “Grape! is a book of uncommon empathy, a perfect story for every child who wants to be heard and loved for who they are, and for every grown up who wants to understand them.” – J. Cynthia McDermott. EdD. Founder, Horace Mann Upstanders Children’s Book Award 

  • What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]

Grape! lives in the territory of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole series. Splash in a little Artful Dodger and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and there you go.

  • Why this book? Why now?

Grape! is based on my own childhood misadventures. I tried to write them straight memoir years ago, but it always fell flat. It wasn’t until I allowed my 11-year-old self to do the storytelling that it came to life.

  • Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?

Teaching! Started with sixth grade, then onto high school, and now community college.

  • What do you want readers to take away from the book?

Deeper empathy for kids with impulse control issues, along with a lot of laughs and maybe even some tears. Also, I want them to jump at the chance to read the sequel, Grape, Again! (due out in 2022!).

  • What food and/or music do you associate with the book?

1970’s music! Particularly Elton John and “Clair” by Gilbert O’Sullivan.

  • What book(s) are you reading currently?

I just finished This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff. I’m halfway through Talking to Ourselves, by Andrés Neuman.

Gabriel Arquilevich

Learn more about Gabriel on his website.

Read a review of Grape! at Independent Book Review.

Buy Grape! at Bookshop, Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.

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