Monday, March 4, 2013

This Week's Boswell Events--David Mulroy, Mohsin Hamid with Ghassan Zeineddine, Bobby Tanzilo at Lake Park Pavilion.

Do you watch our upcoming events page on the Boswell website? One thing we've noticed is that authors and publishers really do. It's the first place we find out that we made a booboo, like a starting time inconsistency. And they'll also remind us if they think an event is confirmed and I didn't do a follow up. So I highly recommend you bookmark this page.  Here are this week's events--we're hosting David Mulroy and Mohsin Hamid (pictured), plus we're selling books at Bobby Tanzilo's talk at the Water Tower neighborhood association. And I should note here that I'm using Stacie's copy rather liberally.

Thursday, March 7, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David Mulroy, translator of Sophocles's Antigone and Oedipus Rex

David Mulroy is professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He has translated The Complete Poetry of Catullus and Oedipus Rex, both published by the University of Wisconsin Press. I know at least a couple of you have asked for more speakers on the classics.

Sophocles's Antigone ranks with his Oedipus Rex as one of world literature's most compelling dramas. The action is taut, and the characters embody universal tensions: the conflict of youth with age, male with female, the state with the family. Plot and character come wrapped in exquisite language. Antagonists trade polished speeches, sardonic jibes, epigrammatic truisms, and break into song at the height of passion.

David Mulroy's verse translation of Antigone faithfully reproduces the literal meaning of Sophocles' words while also reflecting his verbal pyrotechnics. Using fluid iambic pentameters for the spoken passages and rhyming stanzas for the songs, it is true to the letter and the spirit of the great Greek original. The new edition also includes a detailed introduction and notes to help the reader find a clearer understanding and context for the play.

Friday March 8, at 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Mohsin Hamid, author of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, in conversation with creative writing doctoral student Ghassan Zeineddine, co-sponsored by the Eleventh Annual UWM Spring Writers Festival
Join us for a conversation with Mohsin Hamid, author of the award-winning and best-selling novels Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. His hotly anticipated new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, tells the story of a young entrepreneur fighting to get from impoverished childhood to modern success. In his first two novels, Hamid established himself as a radically inventive storyteller and this one is no different.

“Told in the form of a self-help business manual, Hamid’s sometimes sharp edged but often beautiful third novel follows the life of an unnamed protagonist in a third world Asian nation. Starting with his first job delivering pirated movies, and continuing on with an entrepreneurial leap to counterfeit bottled water, our hero (always “you”, as the story is told in the second person), experiences the heightened expectations, followed by the setbacks that encompass most lives. But despite the failed marriage, the backstabbing associates, and the inevitable decline, there is always, lurking in the background, the pretty girl who had her own dreams and only intermittently and fleetingly entered his life.”—Daniel Goldin (Hey, that's me!)

"This brilliantly structured, deeply felt book is written with the confidence and bravura of a man born to write. Hamid is at the peak of his considerable powers here, and delivers a tightly paced, preternaturally wise book about a thoroughly likable, thoroughly troubled striver in the messiest, most chaotic ring of the global economy. Completely unforgettable." —Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King

About the Author: Mohsin Hamid's first novel, Moth Smoke, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the film version, directed by Mira Nair, is set to be released this year. Hamid contributes to Time, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others. He lives in Pakistan.

Ghassan Zeineddine is a doctoral student in Literature and Creative Writing at UWM. He is currently at work on his first novel, Mutanabi Street, set in Beirut in the 60s and 70s. I love books set on one street (or alternately, one apartment building. There's a blog post in there somewhere.)

On the fence about coming to see Mohsin Hamid? We're hosting him relatively early so you may not understand what a big deal this is. I'm going to list ten reasons why you should come.

1. Ron Charles talks about Hamid's use of the second-person and his borrowing of the self-help genre for the novel in this enthusiastic Washington Post review.

2. Though Hamid is deliberately vague about people and places, he has stated in this Salon essay that the place is most definitely a real place. "The novel is also acutely informed by modern life in Pakistan. The deliberate vagueness of the setting and the characters’ names – for example, the protagonist’s lifelong love interest is simply known as 'the pretty girl'--frees Hamid to 'write about Pakistan without being constrained by the stereotypes and assumptions that I’ve absorbed from reading other people writing about Pakistan.'"

3. We are apparently the go-to store for great writing about the Pakistani and Pakistani American experience. Did you attend our talks with Daniyal Muenuddin or Ayad Akhtar? They were great, right? And I'm already postive that this is also going to be amazing. As soon as his Glory and Jynne at Riverhead told me that Hamid focuses on talking instead of reading, I knew it was going to be great.

4. Ghassan is the perfect person to have this conversation style event. Trust me on this one.

5. Hamid got a special cell phone number for the tour, because we booksellers got a little nervous about calling an Islamabad number if he got lost on the way from his last event. Isn't that cool? Sometimes folks don't realize what publishers go through to make these events work. Feel guilty yet? I love guilt. Make it up to me by attending on Friday.

6. This is the preview event for the UWM Spring Writers Conference on Saturday, March 9. We'll be selling books there, and I'll also be in conversation with Paul Salsini and Julia Pandl about self-publishing. It's probably not too late to sign up. More info here.

6. Not convinced? Hamid is collecting more pieces about the book on his website. I particularly love that they got Jay McInerney, the former king of second person, to interview him for the Daily News.

And if you missed our event with Bobby Tanzilo talking about Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses, don't forget that he is appearing this Wednesday at 7 pm as a guest speaker at the Water Tower Neighborhood Assocation meeting. Here's the Facebook page. They'll let you know if there are any changes to the schedule.

For my part, I'm happy that we don't have store events until Thursday. The weather should have calmed down by then.

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