We curated the last installment of our Reading Series before our brief summer hiatus to be sure to keep you sated through your trip to the shore. Behind the Book will be hosting three great authors who will explore topics of identity, loss, and coming of age in an evening at KGB Bar. Join us in welcoming Dana Spiotta, Idra Novey, and Sari Wilson on Thursday, June 9.
Dana Spiotta, Innocents and Others
Dana Spiotta is the author of four novels: the recently published Innocents and Others; Stone Arabia, a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist; Eat the Document, a National Book Award Finalist and a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Lightning Field. Like all of her work, her latest novel, Innocents and Others, takes up questions of identity and transformation, examining the complex relationship among three women and the film world in a masterly exploration of artistic motivation. Dana was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and won the 2008-9 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. She lives in Syracuse with her daughter Agnes and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.
“A brilliant split-screen view of women working within and without the world of Hollywood . . . its moral dimensions feel vast. Once Spiotta has her disparate storylines in motion, they resonate with each other in ways you can’t stop thinking about. . . . Spiotta explores the remarkable species of sisterhood that survives jealousy and disappointment and even years of neglect. The tension between artistic purity and commercial popularity may tax their affection, but nothing can blot out their shared history, their abiding devotion, the great wonder that is a true friend. Toward the end, Meadow considers how to create a ‘glimpse of the sublime.’ Considering the limits of her medium, she asks herself, ‘Can an image convey something unnamable, impossible, invisible?’ The quiet miracle of this novel is that it does just that.”
– Ron Charles, The Washington Post
Sari Wilson, Girl Through Glass
Sari Wilson’s taut and engrossing debut novel, Girl Through Glass, was named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed and The Millions. Based on the author’s early experiences in the classical dance world, where she trained as a dancer with the Harkness Ballet in New York and was on scholarship at Eliot Feld’s New Ballet School, Girl Through Glass tells the story of a young girl’s coming of age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet in the late 1970s – a story of obsession and the quest for perfection, trust and betrayal, beauty and lost innocence. Sari’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in literary journals such as Agni, Oxford American, Third Coast, and Slice. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Fine Arts Work Center Fellow in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has received a residency from The Corporation of Yaddo. She grew up in a Victorian brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, has lived in San Francisco, Chicago, and Prague, and now again lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the cartoonist Josh Neufeld, and their daughter.
“[T]he story is a uniformly engrossing look into the fabled world of hypercompetitive 1970s ballet. Mira and Maurice’s relationship has the fairy tale feel of Beauty and the Beast, but the pages brim with the realism of the gritty, crime-riddled New York, especially as the plot ricochets toward a surprising, and bittersweet, merging of Kate’s and Mira’s stories. Wilson writes lovingly of ballet and elevates the coming-of- age story with a dark undercurrent about the cost of obsession.”
– Publishers Weekly
Idra Novey, Ways to Disappear
Idra Novey is the author of the debut novel Ways to Disappear, named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2016 by Buzzfeed, Bustle, Flavorwire, Ploughshares, and Brooklyn Magazine. Both a dazzling novel of ideas and of intrigue, Ways to Disappear is about the disappearance of a famous Brazilian novelist, last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree, and the young translator who turns her life upside down to follow her author's trail. Idra’s poetry collections include Exit, Civilian, selected by Patricia Smith for the 2011 National Poetry Series; The Next Country, a finalist for the 2008 Foreword Book of the Year Award; and Clarice: The Visitor, a collaboration with the artist Erica Baum. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into eight languages, and she has written for The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, Slate, and The Paris Review. She is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers Magazine, the PEN Translation Fund, the Poetry Foundation, and the Poetry Society of America. She’s also translated the work of several prominent Brazilian writers, most recently Clarice Lispector’s novel, The Passion According to G.H. She’s taught at Princeton University, Columbia, NYU, Fordham, the Catholic University of Chile, and in the Bard Prison Initiative. In fall 2016, she will be the Visiting Distinguished Writer in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at LIU Brooklyn. Born in western Pennsylvania, she has since lived in Chile, Brazil, and New York.
“Ways to Disappear is concerned not just with truth and the risks of its misplacement and misinterpretation, but with the importance of close reading. It’s a delightful, inventive paean to writing that generates ‘real emotion’ and ‘genuine unease.’ At one point Beatriz’s publisher likens literature to steaks on a grill, testing both ‘for density’ as well as ‘for something tender in the middle yet still heavy enough to blacken the air.’ This book is seared to perfection, medium rare.”
– Heller McAlpin, NPR