February Reading at KGB

It’s the month of love, and Behind the Book is taking in all its forms: from war zones to ocean troughs to New York City streets with Elliot Ackerman, Marah Hardt, and Lara Vapnyar.  Invite your sweetheart and join us February 9 at 7PM at venerable KGB Bar in the East Village.

Elliot Ackerman’s just released and highly anticipated second novel, Dark at the Crossing, is a timely story of stunning humanity and tension: a contemporary love story set on the Turkish border with Syria.  Both a former White House Fellow and Marine, Elliot is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Green on Blue.  He is based out of Istanbul, where he has covered the Syrian Civil War since 2013.  His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories.  He served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart.

“Dark at the Crossing is every bit as taut and harrowing as the place it depicts, a region where fifteen years of relentless war play out in filthy refugee camps and upscale shopping malls.  Elliot Ackerman has written a brilliant, admirably merciless novel of broken lives, broken places, and good intentions gone awry.” – Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk & Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

“Here is a thriller, psychological fiction, political intrigue, and even a love story all wrapped into a stunningly realistic and sometimes horrifying package.  Put Ackerman on the A-list.” – Library Journal (starred)

Dr. Marah Hardt is the author of the hilarious yet serious and widely praised Sex in the Sea, an “oceanographic Kinsey Report” that was named an Amazon Best Book of 2016 and an Oprah.com Best Book for National Reading Month.  Sex in the Sea humorously dives into the sex lives of sea creatures to explain the sustainability of oceans and the influence of human activity on the survival of aquatic species.  Marah is Research Co-Director for the non-profit Future of Fish.  A coral reef ecologist by training, she is a former research fellow at Blue Ocean Institute.  She has written for Scientific American and The American Prospect, among other publications.  She currently embraces life as a mermaid in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado.

“Funny and entertaining . . . but it is also a warning.  Misunderstanding the mating habits and needs of sea life poses great risks to our own way of life.” – The Miami Herald

Lara Vapnyar’s latest novel, Still Here, an exploration of life, death, and social media, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2016.  Still Here follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.  Called “Jane Austen with a Russian soul” by Louis Menand, Lara is the author of two other novels and two collections of short stories: The Scent of Pine, Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, Memoirs of a Muse, and There Are Jews in My House.  She is a recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship, and Goldberg Prize for Jewish fiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, and The New Republic.  Lara emigrated from Russia to New York in 1994 and began publishing short stories in English in 2002.  She is pursuing a Ph.D. in comparative literature at CUNY Graduate Center, and teaches writing at New York University and Columbia University.

“Still Here is flat-out wonderful, the work of a generous imagination that overflows with stories, some humorous, others heartbreaking, all resonant.  The novel is timely in its trenchant dissection of technology and post-recession America, yet classic in its evocation of love and death, ambition and identity, families and friendships forged and broken.” – Anthony Marra, author of The Tsar of Love & Techno and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena