Monday, October 19, 2020

Event update - Max Gross, Antoine Laurain, Suzzy Roche, Thomas Maltman and next week - Matt Haig and Jess Walter

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

Monday, October 19, 7 pm
Max Gross, author of The Lost Shtetl
in Conversation with Andrew Silow-Carroll for a Virtual Event

Join us for a virtual event with Max Gross, debut author of a remarkable novel, written with the fearless imagination of Michael Chabon and the piercing humor of Gary Shteyngart, about a small Jewish village in the Polish forest that is so secluded no one knows it exists - until now. Cohosted by The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center and the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center. Hell chat with his former mentor Silow-Carroll, editor of The New York Jewish Week. Click right here to register for this Zoom event.

Gross, formerly at the Forward and now Editor of the Commercial Observer, has written a novel with starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus. Boswell Book Company’s Chris Lee says, “It’s a myth, it’s a fable, it’s something like a newly discovered religious text. In a world with a seemingly endless supply of novels about the ends-of-the-earth reaching consequences of WWII and the Holocaust, The Lost Shtetl is a wondrous left turn. Gross has written a clever, affecting parable of the ways history, sooner or later, reaches us all.”

For decades, the tiny Jewish shtetl of Kreskol existed in happy isolation, virtually untouched and unchanged. Spared by the Holocaust and the Cold War, its residents enjoyed remarkable peace. It missed out on cars, and electricity, and the internet, and indoor plumbing. But when a marriage dispute spins out of control, the whole town comes crashing into the twenty-first century. Divided between those embracing change and those clinging to its old world ways, the people of Kreskol will have to find a way to come together or risk their village disappearing for good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2 pm
Antoine Laurain, author of The Readers’ Room
in Conversation with Anne Leplae and Daniel Goldin for a Virtual Event

Boswell Book Company hosts the virtual return of our in-house favorite French author, Antoine Laurain, author of beloved novels like Vintage 1954 and The Red Notebook (and The Red Notebook and French Rhapsody and Smoking Kills and The Portrait). He’ll chat about his latest, in which a Parisian editor is drawn into a murder investigation when an unknown thriller author is shortlisted for a prize. Laurain will chat with Anne Leplae, the Executive Director of Alliance Française de Milwaukee, and Daniel Goldin. Click right here to register for this virtual Zoom event

Publishers Weekly notes of The Readers’ Room, “A profound love of books and authors underpins this sprightly mystery,” and the European Literature Network calls it “another winner for Laurain.” And from Daniel Goldin’s recommendation: “Each character is brought to life with the quirky details Laurain does so well, a few literary figures make an appearance, and the book offers up connections to Laurain’s past works, including French Rhapsody and The Red Notebook, which was recently on the Duchess of Cornwall’s quarantine reading list.

When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers' room is convinced it's something special. And the committee for France's highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees. But when the shortlist is announced, there's a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author's identity. Intrigue and charm combine in this dazzling novel of mystery, love and the power of books.

Wednesday, October 21 7 pm Suzzy Roche, author of The Town Crazy 
in Conversation with Jane Hamilton for a Virtual Event

Suzzy Roche, a founding member of the band The Roches (and author of Wayward Sints), will be in conversation with Jane Hamilton for a virtual Ink/Well event sponsored by Ink Link Books and Boswell Book Company. Roche’s latest is a novel of passion, absurdity, innocence, and sorrow. Click here to register for this virtual event.  

The Town Crazy is set in the sleepy town of Hanzloo, Pennsylvania. In 1961, a single father moves into town with his young son, which arouses suspicion from the husbands and the interest of the wives, but at the same time, one of the wives seems to be losing her mind, and no one knows what to do. A contemporary, often humorous take on a bygone era, The Town Crazy also delves into the terror and cruelty of childhood, the dangerous loneliness of failing marriages, sexual repression and desire, and the intersection of art and religion, all culminating in a tragedy for which everyone in the town bears some responsibility. 

Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion says, "The Town Crazy casts a strong spell, and I don't think I've shaken it off yet, nor do I want to. Suzzy Roche understands so much about other people’s lives; her fiction, just like her singing and songwriting, is thrilling, beautiful, and shattering. I will be thinking about this town, these people, this captivating novel, for a long time."

I made my own record chat between 1975 and 2002, meaning I would rate my favorite songs every week. For 23 of those years, I tabulated to 100. The Roches had numerous chartings, but alas, by the time Suzzy went solo, I had stopped. Their highest peak was #3 in 1992 for Troubled Love. How did I ever have so much time?

Thursday, October 22, 7 pm
Thomas Maltman, author of The Land
in Conversation with William Kent Krueger for a Virtual Event

Thrillwaukee heads northwest for an evening of criminal Minnesotan masterminds. Thomas Maltman chats about his follow up novel to his IndieNext pick Little Wolves, a story of violence set in the heart of a pastoral landscape, with William Kent Krueger, author of Ordinary Grace. Click here to register for this virtual event.

Recovering from a terrible auto accident just before the turn of the millennium, college dropout and hobbyist computer-game programmer Lucien Swenson becomes the caretaker of a house in northern Minnesota. Shortly after moving in, Lucien sets out to find a woman with whom he had an affair, who vanished along with money stolen from the bank where they had worked together. At once a mystery and spiritual noir, The Land explores the dark side of belief, entrenched white supremacy in the Heartland, the uniquely American obsession with end times, and the sacrifices we make for those we love. 

Leif Enger, author of Virgil Wander and Peace Like a River says, “Maltman’s The Land is a gift to readers longing for a tale of lost love, fringe prophets, souls in cold suspension, and ravens that darken the skies of a Northern winter. Set against a looming apocalypse and the clicking of a projector showing classic films, The Land is generous, intricate, and propulsive.”

Monday, October 26, 3 pm
Matt Haig, author of The Midnight Library
A Readings from Oconomowaukee Virtual Event
in Conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin

Presenting the latest event in the Readings from Oconomowaukee series from Books and Company and Boswell Books. Matt Haig, author of the novel How to Stop Time and the memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, joins us all the way from Brighton, England for this special afternoon event to chat about his latest, which draws on quantum wave theory to tell the charming story of an English woman with situational depression. Click here to register for this Zoom virtual event.  

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? 

In Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. 

So many people love Matt Haig's writing, but I can't think of a better quoter than Jameela Jamil, since this book would definitely be of interest to lovers of The Good Place. She wrote: "I can't describe how much his work means to me. So necessary...[Matt Haig is] the king of empathy."

Wednesday, October 28, 7 pm
A Ticketed Event with Jess Walter, author of The Cold Millions
in Conversation with Karen Russell for a Virtual Event

We are pleased to host a ticketed virtual with Jess Walter, the author of the beloved #1 bestseller Beautiful Ruins and Edar winner for Citizen Vince, for a conversation about his first new novel in eight years. Walter will chat with Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia and Sleep Donation, a haunting novella praised by Stephen King, now available in paperback. What a great pairing!

Tickets are available at for $23.19 (20% off the price of The Cold Millions), plus sales tax and ticket fee, and include "admission" on one device to the event. The first 60 folks to sign up will get a signed tip-in copy of The Cold Millions. Folks who sign up after that will either get tip-ins or a signed book with bookplate.

What better place to quote from for The Cold Millions event than the literary website The Millions? Matt Harvkey dives deep into Jess Walter's latest here. "...The Cold Millions has politics in its DNA. It raises questions about power’s corrupting influence, about the sides people take and fortify with rhetoric, and about brotherhood, both genetic and thematic. The book is intimate enough to tell a moving story about Rye and Gig, and expansive enough to tell other stories too - about labor, class, inequality, privilege, corruption, and migration. But above all, The Cold Millions is about Spokane." Read the rest!

A final note - all of Jess Walter's initial events are ticketed. If you're going to read the book anyway, why not buy it as part of the event and watch this great conversation? We've discounted the book so even with the ticket fee, it's under list price. We'll ship anywhere in the continental United States for $4. And don't forget about the signed bookplate. And can I just say, remember how much you loved Beautiful Ruins?

More on Boswell's upcoming events page. All start time are Central time (or Chicago time, if you'd prefer).

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