Author Study

“Literary Sojourn is the sort of weekend that helps you rediscover the echo of the written word.”
— Colum McCann

Author Study Events

Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 5:30pm

A lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream. In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after. Arcadia's inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group's charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah's only child, the book's protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. If he remains in love with the peaceful agrarian life in Arcadia and deeply attached to its residents--including Handy and Astrid's lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle--how can Bit become his own man? How will he make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live?

America America by Ethan Canin
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 5:30pm

America, America is a fairy tale about upward mobility (think Great Gatsby) set in the Nixon era. Corey Sifter, a working-class boy is hired to work on the estate of the vastly rich and powerful Metareys. He is embraced by the family and they even pay for his education. The patriarch of the family decides to throw all his money behind influence behind the presidential aspirations of an antiwar senator, civil-rights crusader, "one of the last great liberal leaders of the Senate." Metarey believes that he is the candidate who can dislodge Nixon from the White House in the 1972 elections and end the war in Vietnam. A scandal ensues and young Corey Sifter’s leg up into the rich and powerful becomes the most memorable education he will ever receive. The novel will resonate with all readers in our current election climate.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 5:30pm

It's a pleasure to discover an author who wields language in striking ways, and Burton's setting and story line are equally singular. In her enticing debut, set in 1680s Amsterdam, she counterbalances her mischievous premise with stark commentary on greed, hypocrisy, and prejudice. Already puzzled by the indifference of her new husband, merchant-trader Johannes Brandt, 18-year-old Nella feels insulted by his seemingly childish wedding gift: a pricey dollhouse whose tiny rooms replicate the decor and layout of their home. However, she grows intrigued when the furnishings she commissions from a miniaturist reveal uncannily prescient insight into their household. Full of surprises and layers of secrets, the plot gathers suspense as Nella seeks answers from the enigmatic miniaturist and tension heightens between Johannes and a business associate over unsold sugar. While Nella's determination and colorful observations are appealing, the inscrutability of her chilly sister-in-law, Marin, deepens the sense of mystery. The interactions between these strong characters and their spirited maid, Cornelia, make this refreshingly different historical novel a standout portrayal of the wide range of women's ingenuity. ~Johnson, Sarah, Copyright 2010 Booklist

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 5:30pm

In his delightful and dark new novel, Booker nominee deWitt brings his amusingly off-kilter vision to a European folk tale. After nearly dying from an illness that claims his father, Lucy Minor, a bored and pompous young man, leaves his fairy tale-like hamlet of Bury to begin a new life as assistant to the majordomo at Castle Von Aux. Just getting there proves to be an adventure: Lucy is beset by thieves, learns of his predecessor's awful fate, and is relieved of his last coin by Adolphus, an exceptionally handsome soldier fighting a war in the forest. Once at the castle, Lucy befriends the thieves who robbed him, competes with Adolphus for the love of the beguiling Klara, and attempts to restore the Baron Von Aux to sanity. Lucy's earnest actions only create more trouble when a dinner party descends into grotesque bacchanalia, a lecherous guest loses his teeth, and Adolphus makes a final play for Klara's heart, driving Lucy to the edge of the Very Large Hole, where he vacillates between killing himself and someone else. DeWitt (The Sisters Brothers) uses familiar tropes to lull the reader into a false sense of grounding, delivering with abundant good humor a fully realized, consistently surprising, and thoroughly amusing tale of longing, love, madness, and mirth. ~ Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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