Monday, July 12, 2021

Boswell Events - Anna Lardinois, Willa C Richards, Simon Van Booy and next Monday's Elinor Lipman

Here's what's happening...

Tuesday, July 13, 7 pm
Anna Lardinois, author of Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes: Tragedies and Legacies from the Inland Seas
A vitual event - Register here.

Boswell is pleased to present another great evening with Anna Lardinois of Gothic Milwaukee. In her latest, Lardinois covers the sensational wrecks and maritime disasters from each of the five Great Lakes. The Daniel take - On my sister Merrill's last visit, we went on one of Anna's walks and had a great time. This is a virtual event, but it looks like Anna's next event, for a kids book, will be in person.

It is estimated that over 30,000 sailors have lost their lives in Great Lakes wrecks. For many, these icy, inland seas have become their final resting place, but their last moments live on as a part of maritime history. The tales, all true and well-documented, feature some of the most notable tragedies on each of the lakes. Sailors are a superstitious group, and the stories are sprinkled with omens and maritime protocols that guide decisions made on the water.

Maritime disaster enthusiast Anna Lardinois owns Gothic Milwaukee, the Brew City’s most popular haunted, historical walking tour company. The 11th Pfister Narrator, Lardinois loves to celebrate the best Milwaukee has to offer. Lardinois is author of Milwaukee Ghosts and Legends and Storied and Scandalous Wisconsin.

As recommended, please consider playing Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" to get in the mood. Plus Gordon Lightfoot is in Chicago on July 18.

Wednesday, July 14, 7 pm
Willa C Richards, author of The Comfort of Monsters - ask for your signed copy. And if you contact us today or tomorrow, you can get your book personalized. For web orders, put your request in comments.
in conversation with Valerie Laken for a virtual event
Register for this event here.

Debut author Willa C Richards chats about her novel, set in Milwaukee during the 'Dahmer Summer' of 1991, about two sisters - one who disappears and one who is left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. In conversation with UWM Professor Valerie Laken. Right now, we expect this event to end before the start of Wednesday's Bucks game. Register to make sure you get any last-minute adjustments.

Teenaged Dee McBride vanished. Thirty years later, her sister Peg is haunted by her sister's disappearance. Their mother, on her deathbed, is desperate to find out what happened. Soon, Peg is drawn back to the past, to those final carefree months when she last saw Dee - the summer the Journal Sentinel called “the deadliest . . . in the history of Milwaukee,” when Jeffrey Dahmer’s heinous crimes dominated the headlines. Digging deep into her memory raises doubts and terrifying questions. Was there anything Peg could have done to prevent Dee’s disappearance? Who was really to blame for the family's loss? And what does it mean to bear witness in a world where even our own stories are inherently suspect?

The Daniel rec: "Peg felt so close to her sister Dee growing up in Milwaukee. When Dee goes missing, Peg is certain she had the answers, but being that her disappearance coincides with Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree in Milwaukee, there’s not much interest in pursuing the case. Come to think of it, there’s not much interest in the Dahmer case either among the police. The story jumps back and forth between 1991 and 2019, with Peg’s anxiety about the long-unsolved case leading to a downward spiral, making The Comfort of Monsters part of a library of Milwaukee novels (Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, A Door Behind a Door) framed as mystery/thrillers but are more existential character studies. I was impressed by how Richards captures the visceral discomfort that permeates the story, as she touches on many moments of violence, from toxic behavior to sexual assault and other horrors. A memorable story that could well cross over to true crime readers."

From Publishers Weekly: "The author does an excellent job of showing Peg at two different points in her life and depicting how she is perpetually trapped between guilt and hope as she acquiesces to Thomas’s methods. The other characters are equally well drawn. In a glut of dead girl stories and true crime vehicles, Richards pulls of a wrenching and rewarding twist on both."

From Sarah Weinman in The New York Times: "Novels that explore the effects and aftermath of serial murder, especially over the course of decades, always capture my interest.Willa C. Richards’s debut, The Comfort of Monsters is a particularly impressive example, setting its layered narrative of sisterhood, tough upbringings, violence and grief against the backdrop of what happened in Milwaukee during the summer of 1991, when the city reeled after Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested for killing a number of young men."

Read Jim Higgins's profile in the Journal Sentinel.

Willa C Richards is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. And yes, she also graduated from Brookfield East High School. Valerie Laken is author of Dream House and Separate Kingdoms.

Thursday, July 15, 2 pm
Simon Van Booy, author of Night Came with Many Stars
in Conversation with Sharon Nagel and Daniel Goldin for A Virtual Event
Cohosted by the Whitefish Bay Public Library
Register for this event here

Boswell Book Company and the Whitefish Bay Library welcome Simon Van Booy (virtually) back to Milwaukee for a conversation about his latest novel, a story that begins when a man in 1930s Kentucky loses his 13-year-old daughter in a game of cards. Van Booy is author of Boswell favorite The Illusion of Seperateness. (A second-hand copy, is also available as of July 12)

Award-winning author Simon Van Booy's spellbinding novel spans decades as he tells the story of Carol, a young girl in 1930s Kentucky who lives in poverty and struggles with abuse. Just one bet in a card game alters her life forever. Incidents intersect and lives unexpectedly change course in this story of chance and choice that leads home again to a night blessed with light. For those of you who read and loved The Illusion of Separateness after we recommended it to you, this novel is the closest Van Booy has gotten in style and structure to that story.

The Daniel rec: "After her mother dies, a young Kentucky girl falls prey to her abusive father, forever known only as Carol’s Daddy, who winds up using her as stakes in a poker game. Fifty years later, Samuel and Eddie are forever bonded by a shop class accident. How the stories connect, and how seemingly small acts can resonate over generations drives the latest novel from the author of the Boswell favorite, The Illusion of Separateness. Van Booy loves bonds, he loves repercussions, he loves large characters on a small stage, and most of all, he loves grace. Is it sentimental? Unabashedly, but it’s counterpointed by a spare style, where often what’s unsaid is as important as what is. There’s no speculative element to the story, and yet, in its contemplativeness, I’d recommend it to folks liking Matt Haig’s books. Affecting and wondrous!"

From Kirkus Reviews: "In the words of one of Carol’s unlikely saviors, everyone reaches a crossroads in life, where they can choose to take another way. The same sage observes that what you give in the world will be returned and what you take will be taken; these lessons, shared with Carol on a miserable ride to redemption, inform just about every action and interaction between and among the myriad characters Van Booy sets loose on the slowly revolving stage of rural, karmic destiny. This well-crafted and often serendipitous saga recognizes that family cannot be escaped but can be expanded."

From Jason Sheehan at the NPR website: "I've been a fan of Van Booy's work for a long time. His short stories read like jagged glass set in beautiful boxes. Night is not a lot different. A novel, yes, and maybe his best — best of all his work I've read, for sure, and better, by a long stretch, than so much I've read that wasn't written by him. But if his short stories are pieces of glass, each distinct and different, Night is a stained-glass window, shattered. It is a series of vignettes - of moments lifted whole and raw from the lives of a Kentucky family, generations deep - and not pieced together but curated. Each on display. Each its own and complete, but part of a greater whole."

Simon Van Booy is author of thirteen books, including Love Begins in Winter, winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Everything Beautiful Began After. He has written for the New York Times, NPR, and the BBC. Van Booy attended college in Kentucky on a football scholarship and lived in the state for several years.

Sharon Nagel is a librarian at Whitefish Bay Public Library. She's one half of the writing team of Juneau Black, whose books are Shady Hollow, Cold Clay, and Mirror Lake. Look for 2022 publication of this series from Anchor Books! 

Sneak peak at next week:
Monday, July 19, 7 pm
Elinor Lipman, author of Rachel to the Rescue
in conversation with Jane Hamilton
Register for this event here.

Join us for an evening with Elinor Lipman, one of America's funniest novelists, for her mischievous novel of political satire. In conversation with her long-time friend Jane Hamilton, acclaimed author of The Excellent Lombards and A Map of the World. Ask for your signed Elinor Lipman bookplate with purchase.

Rachel Klein is sacked from her job at the White House after she sends an email criticizing Donald Trump. As she is escorted off the premises she is hit by a speeding car, driven by what the press will discreetly call "a personal friend of the President." Does that explain the flowers, the get-well wishes at a press briefing, the hush money offered by a lawyer at her hospital bedside? Rachel’s recovery is soothed by comically doting parents, matchmaking room-mates, a new job as aide to a journalist whose books aim to defame the President, and unexpected love at the local wine store. But secrets leak, and Rachel’s new-found happiness has to make room for more than a little chaos. Will she bring down the President? Or will he manage to do that all by himself? Rachel to the Rescue is a mischievous political satire, with a delightful cast of characters, from one of America’s funniest novelists.

From Beth Gutcheon: "Utterly, deliciously funny and winning. Just what the doctor ordered." We'll have a fuller portion of Lipman love next Monday for the July 19 event.

More on the Boswell upcoming events page.

Photo credits!
Simon Van Booy by Lucas Hunt
Elinor Lipman by Michael Benabib

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