Monday, February 23, 2015

Boswell Presents: Emily Gray Tedrowe on Tuesday, Feb. 24, Robert Sabuda at MIAD on Wednesday, Boris Fishman Thursday, Plus Melissa Falcon Field on Tuesday, March 3.

Tuesday, February 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Emily Gray Tedrowe, author of Blue Stars

Chicago writer Emily Gray Tedrowe has written a graceful and gritty portrayal of what it's like for the women whose husbands and sons are deployed in Iraq. The author has a champion in UWM professor Liam Callanan, but he's not the only writer who's a fan.

“A strikingly nuanced portrait of military family life, Blue Stars examines the battles women face when reunited with their soldiers. Emily Tedrowe opens up a world of spouse support groups and ‘mandatory fun,’ acronyms and hierarchies, maxed-out credit cards and hospital waiting rooms, relationships that last the long separations and those that don’t. Her characters are gutsy, flawed, and incredibly real. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when wounded service members return, read this book.”
–Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

“This heartbreakingly beautiful novel by Emily Gray Tedrowe colors in the often shadowy voices of the women on the homefront during wartime. Layered with the love, mess, fear, bravery and grief that lurk in the back end of war, Tedrowe’s crisp clear voice weaves a haunting tale of the unvarnished intricacies of the human spirit and the very dear price we pay for human conflict.”
— Lee Woodruff, author of In an Instant and Those We Love Most

I was looking over Tedrowe's list of events, and I saw she was reading at one of the two remaining Womrath's bookstores, in Bronxville, New York. In my childhood, this chain (or was it a franchise, I never knew) had several locations that I knew of in Manhattan and one in Fresh Meadows Queens, down the block from the Bloomingdale's. When that store closed (replaced by a K Mart), the Womrath's seemingly closed an hour later. They operated not just bookstores but book departments and rental libraries. The other store is in Tenafly, New Jersey. One operates under, the other under

Wednesday, February 25, 6 pm, (doors open 5:30) at MIAD, 273 E. Erie Street, 4th floor:
Robert Sabuda, discussing "The Art and Craft of Paper Engineering", as part of the MIAD Creativity Series. His most recent book is The Dragon & the Knight: A Pop-Up Misadventure. 

Robert Sabuda is a #1 New York Times best-selling children’s book creator, leading children’s pop-up book artist, and paper engineer. He began his careerafter graduating Summa Cum Laude from the Pratt Institute in New York City. His interest in children’s book illustration began with an internship at Dial Books for Young Readers while attending the Pratt Institute. Initially working as a package designer, he illustrated his first children’s book series, “Bulky Board Books.” He enjoyed wide recognition after he started designing pop-up books for children.

From the starred Kirkus review: "Highlighted by a dragon head that lunges out at viewers with a gush of paper 'flame' as the spread opens, the pop-ups are, predictably, gobsmacking assemblages that whirl into multilevel scenes or rear up to seemingly impossible heights. 'Want to play again?' asks the knight. The invitation is well-nigh irresistible.With Sabuda, it’s hard to set expectations too high or wide, but here he rides triumphantly roughshod over them anyway."

MIAD Professor Christiane Grauert says, "Robert Sabuda persistently pushes the boundaries of what is feasible within pop-up design. He will provide an insight into his challenging negotiation of artistic vision and engineering considerations."

Robert Sabuda's visit is sponsored by Eileen and Barry Mandel. Reservations are requested, by emailing Carol Davis.

Thursday, February 26, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life.
This event is co-sponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM.

A Replacement Life was featured on the front page of The New York Times Book Review and shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award. I should note that he lost to David Bezmozgis's The Betrayers, who also read at Boswell, as did another finalist, Joshua Ferris, author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. The winner of the debut fiction prize was another Boswell visitor, Stuart Rojstaczer, author of The Mathematician's Shiva.

Yevgeny Gelman, grandfather of Slava Gelman, "didn't suffer in the exact way" he needs to have suffered to qualify for the restitution the German government has been paying out to Holocaust survivors. But suffer he has--as a Jew in the war, as a second-class citizen in the USSR, as an immigrant to America. So? Isn't his grandson a "writer"?

High-minded Slava wants to put this immigrant scraping behind him. Only the American Dream is not panning out for him--Century, the legendary magazine where he works as a researcher, wants nothing greater from him. Slava wants to be a correct, blameless American, but he wants to be a lionized writer even more.

Slava's turn as the Forger of South Brooklyn teaches him that not every fact is the truth, and not every lie a falsehood. It takes more than law abiding to become an American; it takes the same self-reinvention in which his people excel. Intoxicated and unmoored by his inventions, Slava risks exposure. Cornered, he commits an irrevocable act that finally grants him a sense of home in America, but not before collecting a price from his family.

Listen to this interview with Fishman on NPR's Here and Now.

and coming up next week:
Tuesday, March 3, 7 pm, at Boswell
Melissa Falcon Field, author of What Burns Away.

Good wife, good mother. That's all Claire Spruce is trying to be, but the never-ending snow in this new town and her workaholic husband are making her crazy. Even the sweet face of her toddler son can't pull her out of the dark places in her head. Feeling overwhelmed and alone, she reconnects with her long-lost high school boyfriend, Dean, who offers an intoxicating, reckless escape. But Dean's reappearance is not a coincidence. He wants something from Claire-and she soon finds that the cost of repaying an old favor may lead to the destruction of her entire life.

From Christi Clancy in the Journal Sentinel: "What Burns Away is that rare mix of well-written literary fiction with the suspense of a spy novel. Falcon Field asks hard questions about aging, innocence, loyalty and the importance of place, while keeping us on the edge of our seat. Lou Reed once said, 'I don't like nostalgia unless it's mine.' Yet Claire's nostalgia is so thoroughly documented and explored in What Burns Away that Falcon Field masterfully makes Claire's nostalgia feel like it is our own, and through Claire, we have the guts to go back in order to move forward.

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