Monday, February 15, 2021

This week virtually at Boswell - Rebecca Sacks, author of City of a Thousand Gates, and Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie

Here's what's happening virtually at Boswell this week.

Tuesday, February 16, 7 pm
Rebecca Sacks, author of City of a Thousand Gates
in Conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin for a Virtual Event
Register here for this event

Readings from Oconomowaukee presents a conversation with author Rebecca Sacks, who received a Canada Council for the Arts grant as well as the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation's Henfield Prize for Fiction. Her dispatches from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were published in Paris Review Daily. And now she'll talk to Lisa Baudoin and I about her new book, a haunting novel of present-day Israel and Palestine.

Porter Shreve reviewed City of a Thousand Gates for The Washington Post, noting that Sacks: "makes a convincing case for a literature of multiplicity, polyphonic and clamorous, abuzz with challenges and contradictions, with no clear answers but a promise to stay alert to the world, in all its peril and vitality."

From Ayelet Tsabari in The New York Times: "The novel digs into the enduring wound of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offers an unflinching, unforgiving look into the harsh realities of the occupation and its impact on people’s lives. Sacks works to dispel what Mai refers to as the “fantasy of a symmetrical conflict,” but the author’s description of the deep-seated hatred on both sides reads devastatingly true."

What's my comparison title? I might suggest Nicole Krauss's recent works (more Great House or Forest Dark than History of Love) or, for those who know their National Book Award finalists, Sunil Yapa's Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist. And look at that, Krauss actually wrote a recommendation for the book: "Probing and investigative, City of a Thousand Gates illustrates the endless reverberations of political conflict and its violence within the most intimate corners of personal life. Sacks deeply humanizes a conflict that dehumanizes on every level.""

Thursday, February 18, 7:30 pm
Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie
in Conversation with Shannon Sims for a Virtual Event
Register here for this event

Boswell presents Nancy Johnson, an Emmy Award-winning journalist who now presents her debut novel, The Kindest Lie, which Catherine Adel West called "a soul-stirring, vividly told saga that demands to be read." For this event, Johnson will be in conversation with Shannon Sims, television anchor at TMJ4. If you loved The Vanishing Half, another story of family separation, this book might be for you.

You've already read how The Kindest Lie was placed virtually in my hands in an act of kindness by another writer. If you haven't, here's the link to that Boswell and Books blog post. But lots of readers and critics are discovering this wonderful book. Paula L. Woods in the Los Angeles Times wrote: "The Kindest Lie is less concerned with solving that mystery than examining the complex forces of racial inequity and the fateful decisions that can make or break a family, or a community. On those terms, the novel is a triumph, a deeply affecting work of truth and reconciliation over what it means to live the American Dream - and not just for the winners."

And here is Anissa Gray in The Washington Post: "What is the cost of secrets and lies? That is the question at the heart of Nancy Johnson’s debut novel, The Kindest Lie. It is the story of a woman preparing to have her first child with the husband she adores; but first, she must confront the fact that she already has a son - a baby she was forced to give up when she was a teenager... It is a story about reconciliation, set against a backdrop of racism and resentments. But more than anything, it is a meditation on family and forgiveness."

Photo credits!
Nancy Johnson by Nina Subin

More on the Boswell upcoming events page

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