“Writing, I Can’t Waste Time”: Alejandro Varela & the Political Public Health Novel

In his debut novel "The Town of Babylon," Alejandro Varela tells the story of Andrés, a Latinx professor whose reluctant suburban homecoming rekindles old high-school friendships and past loves. As Andrés negotiates personal ties and the social frictions running through them, Varela weaves a discerning account on the interpersonal and political definitions of community. In an interview with Executive Editor Alexandra Watson, Varela discusses the inspirations behind the novel - his experiences growing up in a white-majority suburb, and how studying and working in public health illuminated his writing and understanding of the "American Dream."