Monday, February 19, 2018

André Aciman with Suzanne Jurva, Tom Miller's Philosopher's Flight, a daytime event with Charles Finch of the Charles Lenox mysteries, and an early peek at next week's event with Joseph Cassara for his acclaimed debut, at Outwords

Here's the Boswell event calendar for this week (and an early preview for next Tuesday).

Monday, February 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name and Enigma Variations

We are thrilled to present André Aciman, the author of Call Me by Your Name, as well as the just-released paperback edition of Enigma Variations. This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance as well as the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival. Our event will feature a conversation between Aciman and Suzanne Jurva, discussing Call Me by Your Name’s long journey (ten years) from page to screen.

Here's Aciman talking about the film in Vanity Fair: "It had taken me two whole days and five pages to capture the diffident dialogue between the two would-be lovers. But Guadagnino had distilled it in just a few minutes. They shot it three to four more times. For me, the message was clear: film cuts and trims with savage brevity, where a shrug or an intercepted glance or a nervous pause between two words can lay bare the heart in ways written prose is far more nuanced and needs more time and space on the page. But the thing is, I couldn’t write silence. I couldn’t measure pauses and breaths and the most elusive yet expressive body language." Read the whole article here.

The film version of Call Me by Your Name just won a BAFTA Award for best adapted screenplay, which was written by legendary screenwriter James Ivory. It is also nominated for three Academy Awards, for adapted screenwriter, best actor, and best picture.

André Aciman teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of multiple novels, the memoir Out of Egypt, and is editor of The Proust Project. Suzanne Jurva is Director of Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance. She is also a documentary director and producer and was formerly creator of the research department at Dreamworks SKG.

Tuesday, February 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher’s Flight

From a Wauwatosa native turned Madison ER doctor and now debut novelist, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art.

18-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy - an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service, a team of flying medics, Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. He hones his abilities and wins the respect of his classmates. Then he falls for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers - and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

From Boswell's Olivia Schmitz, a review of The Philosopher's Flight: "In a re-imagined World War I era America, the arcane science of empirical philosophy allows those skilled at it to control certain aspects of the physical world. It's thought that only women possess the natural power and prowess for philosophy, but Robert Weekes is determined to join the all-female Elite Corps of Rescue Flyers. Miller's timely story and stunning feat of world building will get you hooked, and you'll stay as Robert and his friends (incredible philosopher ladies) encounter adventure and adversity in a war-torn, challenging world. I LOVE this book!"

Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher’s Flight, he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT, and college English instructor. He's now an emergency room doctor in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2:00 pm, at Boswell:
Charles Finch, author of The Woman in the Water

Enjoy a special afternoon with Charles Finch, who takes readers back to Charles Lenox’s very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London’s most brilliant detectives. In the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, Finch pits the young detective against a maniacal murderer who would give Professor Moriarty a run for his money.

London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective…without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime, and promising to kill again, Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself. You can only imagine that Lenox tries to solve the crime, only to find the stakes raised, trapping our detective hero in a desperate game of cat and mouse. Marilyn Stasio reviews The Woman in The Water in The New York Times Book Review.

Chicago-based Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford. He is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Inheritance and A Beautiful Blue Death, which was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of the year. The National Book Critics Circle just named Finch 2017 winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing for his work at the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, February 27, 7:00 pm, at Outwords Books, Gifts, and Coffee, 2710 N Murray Ave:
Joseph Cassara, author of The House of Impossible Beauties

Boswell is pleased to cosponsor a special evening with Iowa Writers Workshop grad and debut novelist Joseph Cassara, in conjunction with Outwords Books, Gifts, and Coffee. The House of Impossible Beauties is a gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and ’90s. The story is inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza, made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning.

It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone.

As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’s life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences. Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.

It is a mark of the times that The House of Impossible Beauties has been reviewed in both The Economist and The Financial Times, and excerpted in The Wall Street Journal's website. Boyd Tonkin at Financial Times wrote: "For all his immersion in the ball scene of the 1980s, Cassara never overdoes the period costumery of sequins, glitter and gold lamé. Indeed, sartorial spangles have far less appeal for Angel and her homegirls than sheer classic elegance. They come from poor immigrant homes in the Bronx. Hence 'her goal was to look like a wealthy woman with purpose.'"

Of Puerto Rican and Italian lineage, Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Photo credits!
André Aciman: Sigrid Estrada
Charles Finch: Timothy Greenfield-Sande
Joseph Cassara: Amanda Kellis

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