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09/16/2014 12:00 pm
09/16/2014 1:30 pm
Vanessa Manko will be at Bank Square Books from 12:00 to 1:30pm on Tuesday, September 16th for an author luncheon. Please call 860-536-3795 to rsvp.
Description of THE INVENTION OF EXILE:
Austin Voronkov is many things. He is an engineer, an inventor, an immigrant from Russia to Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1913, where he gets a job at a rifle factory. At the house where he rents a room, he falls in love with a woman named Julia, who becomes his wife and the mother of his three children. When Austin is wrongly accused of attending anarchist gatherings his limited grasp of English condemns him to his fate as a deportee, retreating with his new bride to his home in Russia, where he and his young family become embroiled in the Civil War and must flee once again, to Mexico.
While Julia and the children are eventually able to return to the U.S., Austin becomes indefinitely stranded in Mexico City because of the black mark on his record. He keeps a daily correspondence with Julia, as they each exchange their hopes and fears for the future, and as they struggle to remain a family across a distance of two countries. Austin becomes convinced that his engineering designs will be awarded patents, thereby paving the way for the government to approve his return and award his long sought-after American citizenship. At the same time he becomes convinced that an FBI agent is monitoring his every move, with the intent of blocking any possible return to the United States.
Austin and Julia's struggles build to crisis and heartrending resolution in this dazzling, sweeping debut. The novel is based in part on Vanessa Manko's family history and the life of a grandfather she never knew. Manko used this history as a jumping off point for the novel, which focuses on borders between the past and present, sanity and madness, while the very real U.S.-Mexico border looms. The novel also explores how loss reshapes and transforms lives. It is a deeply moving testament to the enduring power of family and the meaning of home.
About the Author
Vanessa Manko earned her MFA in creative writing from Hunter College. She has taught writing at NYU and SUNY Purchase. An excerpt of her novel was published in Granta's winter 2012 issue. Originally from Brookfield, Connecticut, Manko now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise For The Invention of Exile…
New York Magazine:
“The summer’s surest candidate for lit-hit crossover.”
“Manko’s debut thrums with longing.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred):
“A superb study of statelessness…Manko brings plenty of energy to this tale…Manko is a tremendous stylist, using clipped, simple sentences to capture Austin’s mindset as his confidence in escape erodes but never entirely fades; Manko’s shift in perspective toward the end of the book reveals just how much the years of exile have weathered him. She deeply explores two complicated questions: What is the impact of years of lacking a country? And how much does this lack reside in our imaginations? A top-notch debut, at once sober and lively and provocative.”
“[A] fine fiction debut… The beating heart of Manko’s story is Austin’s determination to be reunited with his family.”
“Manko’s debut is a potent examination of the costs of pride and fear as well as the redemptive power of familial bonds.”
The Independent (UK): "Breathless.... Manko's prose and pacing are remarkably assured, rapid when traversing oceans and decades, unbearably tense when Voronkov attempts to re-enter America. 'Paper is stronger than one realises,' is a refrain based in part on the author's family history. With these indelible pages, Manko does her ancestors proud."
Salman Rushdie, author of Joseph Anton and Midnight's Children:
"Vanessa Manko's beautifully written and deeply affecting first novel is the story of a man stranded by history in a strange land, torn away by politics and paranoia from the people he loves, exiled and trapped behind an invisible frontier he dares not cross. Manko ranges expertly between Russia, the USA and Mexico to weave her absorbing tale of emigration, deportation, desperation, paranoia, and finally, improbably, love. The novel reminds one, at times, of Kafka, Ondaatje, and even, in its powerful evocation of marooned isolation, Robinson Crusoe. A brilliant debut."
Colum McCann, author of Transatlantic and Let the Great World Spin:
“Vanessa Manko is a voice for the years to come. Her first novel, The Invention of Exile, is an ambitious tale of a Russian émigré in Mexico City. It is an unflinching portrait of how our lives are structured around the complications of geography, beauty and chance, and, at its core, it is a story about those who live in the double shadows of home and history.”
Siri Hustvedt, author of What I Loved and The Summer Without Men:
“The Invention of Exile is an achingly immediate, sensuous, and psychologically acute novel about a man whose life has been suspended by the madness of American politics. The book moves deftly between past and present and from one consciousness to another to create a narrative of high emotional tension that turns on the fate of its exiled central character, the Russian born 'Austin.' Manko’s tender, compassionate, and wise portrait of this man, who waits and waits and waits to return to the life he was meant to live, continues to reverberate inside me. I suspect I will carry him around with me for years to come.”
Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name:
"Only writing like Vanessa Manko's, so finely tuned to subtle and nearly inexpressible emotions, to the whispers of deepest loneliness, to the inner-life of a man cut-off from family and country by the capricious machinery of politics and prejudice, can draw such a secret, marginal, puzzling life out of the shadows, and give it the vivid force and poetry of a universal myth. The novel's depiction of Austin [Voronkov] is so intimate and moving that I felt, as I read, that I was living his desperate life myself. The Invention of Exile is a beautiful, bewitching and profound novel."
Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Distrubances:
"Vanessa Manko's fantastically ambitious and rewarding novel, The Invention of Exile, lovingly and carefully details the terrible but wondrous twining of one man's fate with Russian, Mexican and American history."
Betsy Detwiler, founder of Buttonwood Books in Cohasset, MA:
“Vanessa Manko is a true artist with words. Every locale, every scene, every emotion and interaction of characters is vividly created, all through observation of the small details and habits of daily life. The pain of exile, the loneliness, the futility of Austin Voronkov's efforts to reclaim his life, the injustice of the events which have brought him to his desperate existence; all these weigh more heavily as the story of his months and years brings the tension to a heartbreaking pitch. The ending is so right. On the one hand, so anticlimactic, on the other so fraught with the understanding of what lies ahead for Austin. Manko's writing is stunning, and she is able to move so beautifully between past and present. This is an unforgettable debut.”
09/18/2014 12:00 pm
09/18/2014 1:30 pm
Authors Ann Hood and Ellen Stimson will be at Bank Sqaure Books for a joint author luncheon on Thursday September 18th from 12:00 to 1:30pm. Please call 860-536-3795 to RSVP.
RSVP required: Join us for FREE OR $10 for lunch OR $30 for lunch and a copy of one of either AN ITALIAN WIFE OR GOOD GRIEF!
(If you'd like to purchase the second book, you may do so at a 20% discount).
Description of Ann Hood's latest novel: AN ITALIAN WIFE
An Italian Wife is the extraordinary story of Josephine Rimaldi her joys, sorrows, and passions, spanning more than seven decades. The novel begins in turn-of-the-century Italy, when fourteen-year-old Josephine, sheltered and naive, is forced into an arranged marriage to a man she doesn't know or love who is about to depart for America, where she later joins him. Bound by tradition, Josephine gives birth to seven children. The last, Valentina, is conceived in passion, born in secret, and given up for adoption.
Josephine spends the rest of her life searching for her lost child, keeping her secret even as her other children go off to war, get married, and make their own mistakes. Her son suffers in World War One. One daughter struggles to assimilate in the new world of the 1950s American suburbs, while another, stranded in England, grieves for a lover lost in World War Two. Her granddaughters experiment with the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll in the 1970s. Poignant, sensual, and deeply felt, An Italian Wife is a sweeping and evocative portrait of a family bound by love and heartbreak."
Description of Ellen Stimson's latest novel: GOOD GRIEF!
One vacation changed everything. Ellen Stimson and her husband had such a wonderful time in Vermont that they wondered what living there would really be like. What if we stayed here . . . forever? So began the series of adventures and misadventures of Ellen Stimson s hilarious first book, MUD SEASON. Now, having settled the family in Vermont s rich muddy soil, they are faced with new challenges of raising kids in the paradise of this very small, very rural town. Good Grief tells the tales of the hopes and dreams of parents just trying to do their best and not always succeeding. Imagine being the mom of the kid who peed on his teacher s chair . . . On. Purpose. Now imagine the governor asking you about it. GOOD GRIEF is all about the inevitable moment right after somebody says, What next? Ellen Stimson's irrepressible optimism and good humor prevail as she, her two husbands, their three kids, and various much-loved pets face down real life, and even death and grieving, with good humor intact. This is life in a state where everyone knows everything, and everything is everybody else's business."
09/20/2014 1:00 pm
Joseph Luizzi will be at the Westerly library on Satruday 1:00pm, September 20th for a book signing. Please call Bank Square Books at 860-536-3795 for more information.
A poignant personal account from a child of Calabrian peasants whose lifelong study of Italy unveils the mysteries of this Bel Paese, “Beautiful Land,” where artistic genius and political corruption have gone hand in hand from the time of Michelangelo to The Sopranos
The child of Italian immigrants and an award-winning scholar of Italian literature, in My Two Italies Joseph Luzzi straddles these two perspectives to link his family’s dramatic story to Italy’s north-south divide, its quest for a unifying language, and its passion for art, food, and family.
From his Calabrian father’s time as a military internee in Nazi Germany—where he had a love affair with a local Bavarian woman—to his adventures amid the Renaissance splendor of Florence, Luzzi creates a deeply personal portrait of Italy that leaps past facile clichés about Mafia madness and Tuscan sun therapy. He delves instead into why Italian Americans have such a complicated relationship with the “old country,” and how Italy produces some of the world’s most astonishing art while suffering from corruption, political fragmentation, and an enfeebled civil society.
With topics ranging from the pervasive force of Dante’s poetry to the meteoric rise of Silvio Berlusconi, Luzzi presents the Italians in all their glory and squalor, relating the problems that plague Italy today to the country’s ancient roots. He shares how his “two Italies”—the earthy southern Italian world of his immigrant childhood and the refined “northern” Italian realm of his professional life—join and clash in unexpected ways that continue to enchant the many millions who are either connected to Italy by ancestry or bound to it by love.
About the Author
Joseph Luzzi, the first American-born child in his Italian family, holds a doctorate from Yale and is a professor of Italian at Bard. He is the author of Romantic Europe and the Ghost of Italy, which won the Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies from the Modern Language Association, and A Cinema of Poetry: Aesthetics of the Italian Art Film. An active critic, his essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bookforum, and The Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of the audio courses In Michelangelo’s Shadow: The Mystery of Modern Italy, The Blessed Lens: A History of Italian Film, and The Art of Reading. His honors include an essay award from the Dante Society of America, a teaching prize from Yale, and a fellowship from the National Humanities Center. Luzzi lectures widely on Italy, literature, art, and film.
09/20/2014 2:00 pm
09/20/2014 4:00 pm
Gerald J. Abbey will be at Bank Square Books for an author signing on Saturday September 20th from 2:00 to 4:00pm.
Description of CHEERS, BEERS AND EASTERN PROMISE:
Twenty-three years old. Newly graduated and an aspiring professional. I took a government scholarship to live in a foreign country. I chose to live in a village. Teaching and studying, I found linguistic and cultural divides. I landed in Taiwan as an ignorant and incapable foreigner from Philadelphia armed with optimism, hope, and a willingness to fail. And fail I did. Early, often, and miserably. I attended nightly dinners full of excess, missed meetings, sang karaoke far more than anyone ever should, crashed motorcycles, took three months to learn xiexie (the Chinese word for thank you), visited temples to ask for godly protection (and forgiveness), and ultimately hit rock bottom on vacation in Thailand. But in the rubble I found my fresh start, ready to tackle new obstacles on the way to learning lessons about life that I still carry with me nine years
09/22/2014 12:00 pm
Randy Susan Meyers will be at Bank Square Books on Monday, September 22nd from 12:00 to 1:30pm for an author luncheon. RSVP required: Join us for free OR $10 for lunch OR $30 for lunch and a hard cover copy of the book. Please call 860-536-3795 to rsvp.
Description of ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE:
From the bestselling author of "The Comfort of Lies," an engrossing look at the darker side of a marriage--and at how an ordinary family responds to an extraordinary crisis.
Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he's lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids--which works to keep a fragile peace--until the rainy day when they're together in the car and Ben's volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.
Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. "Accidents of Marriage "is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.
09/25/2014 9:00 pm
09/27/2014 10:30 am
09/27/2014 12:30 pm
STINKING RICH tells the story of a lovable loser who figures he's hit the big time when he lands a job growing pot for a backwoods biker gang. What could possible go wrong with a high school dropout left unattended in a barn full of high-grade marijuana? Plenty it turns out; drug money draws reprobates like moths to a lantern. Setting his story in The Kawarthas, Brunet's writing is Cananda's answer to the Florida Noir of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey.
09/27/2014 1:00 pm
09/27/2014 3:00 pm
For centuries, the people of the Wabanaki Nations of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada used signs, symbols and designs to communicate with one another. As Native Peoples became victims of European expansion, the Wabanaki were separated by war, the search for work and intermarriage, as well as by hiding their identities to avoid persecution. In this diaspora, their visual language helped them keep their teachings and culture alive. Their designs have evolved over time and taken on different meanings, and they are now used on objects that are considered art. While their beauty is undeniable, these pieces cannot be fully appreciated without understanding their context. Tribal member Jeanne Morningstar Kent sheds light on this language, from the work of ancient Wabanaki to today's artists--like David Moses Bridges, Donna Sanipass and Jennifer Neptune--once again using their medium to connect with their fellow Wabanaki.
09/27/2014 3:30 pm
09/27/2014 5:30 pm
09/28/2014 2:00 pm
09/28/2014 4:00 pm
Sandra Waugh will be at Bank Square Books on Sunday, September 28 from 2 - 4pm with her debut novel, LARK RISING.
Description of LARK RISING
Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.
About the Author
SANDRA WAUGH grew up in an old house full of crowded bookshelves, in walking distance of an old library that allowed her to drag home a sack of six books at a time. It goes without saying, then, that she fell in love with an old house in Litchfield County, Connecticut, because of its many bookshelves, and she lives there now with her husband, two sons, and a dog who snores. Loudly. Lark Rising is her first novel. For more information, reveries, and an author blog, visit sandrawaugh.com.