A Donna Gordon Debut, Nantucket Book Festival 10th Anniversary and Maine Author Awards

0
Donna Gordon’s first novel follows a child with a rare disease of premature aging.Courtesy of Dana Gordon

A moving first

“He was three feet eight inches tall and weighed thirty-five pounds. He had false teeth, heart disease, arthritis, a defibrillator, and was as bald as the bird on the back of a dollar bill. Meet Lee, the 13-year-old hero of Donna Gordon’s big-hearted debut novel”What Ben Franklin would have told me(Royal House). Lee has progeria, a disease that causes aging at an accelerated rate, and has already lived beyond the expected lifespan of 12 years. Gordon’s novel follows Lee, his caretaker Tomás, a six-foot-five Argentinian whose pregnant wife went missing as part of the “Disappeared” and Cass, Lee’s mother, a make-up artist for Broadway. “Lee’s real hero was Ben Franklin,” and high on his bucket list is a visit to DC and Philadelphia to learn more about Franklin’s life, an adventure that Tomás ends up taking him on. Gordon’s prose is alive; he rushes with verve, humor and heart. In Lee, she created a child with an old soul, open to life and to the people he loves. He has childish wishes (also on this to-do list: “Ride in a hot air balloon. Taste chocolate fondue. Track down a beetle under a pile of manure. Earn a scout badge for caving”) and lives in the body of an old man and faces his own end with wisdom and grace, and the relationship between him and Tomás, who faced his own horrors, is rich and nuanced. Gordon has achieved the rare thing, a moving and poignant story of death and love and a page-turning adventure.

Hey Nantucket!

“Nantucket is not Illinois,” wrote Herman Melville in “Moby-Dick.” “At the very chairs and tables, small clams are sometimes found adhering to the backs of sea turtles.” This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Nantucket Book Festival, bringing a number of authors to this “bend of sand” for readings, discussions and events. Connection is the theme of this year’s festival, and the opening night, “Intimate Strangers: Connection through the Power of Books,” on Friday night, includes a talk with authors Azar Nafisi, Mitchell Jackson and Qian Julie Wang. Friday also includes events with Imbolo Mbue, Louise Penny and Mindy Todd, Nathaniel Philbrick and others. On Saturdays you will find events with Dave Barry, James McBride, Martín Espada, Mitch Albom, Alice Hoffman and others. And on Sunday, Natalie Jacobson, Kyleigh Leddy and Jim Sulzer, among others. An opportunity to toast with some of the authors takes place on Thursday evening at the ‘Authors in the Bars’ event, and the White Elephant Hotel hosts an Author Dinner on Friday evening; tickets for this are $350. The rest of the events are free. For more information and a full schedule, visit nantucketbookfestival.org.

Maine Writer Awards

The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance recently announced the winners of the 2022 Maine Literary Awards. The poetry award was split between WJ Herbert, for “Dear specimen“, and Jefferson Navicky for”Ancient densities.” The fiction award went to Elanor Morse’s novel”Margreete Harbor.” Robin Clifford Wood won the non-fiction award for “The Field House: A Writer’s Life Lost and Found on an Island in Maine.” In memory, Rachael Cerrotti won for “We share the same sky: a memory of memory and migration.” Paul Doiron took the mystery novel category for “Dead at dawn.” Suzanne Greenlaw and Gabriel Frey won the children’s category for “The first sprig of sweetgrass», Illustrated by Nancy Baker. The Speculative Fiction Award went to James Wright for “Rhizome.” by Ellen Booraem”river magicwon for children’s literature. The anthology award went to “Kuhkomossonuk Akonutomuwinokot: Stories Our Grandmothers Told Us”, edited by Wayne Newell and Robert Leavitt. This book also won Maine’s non-fiction award, shared with Wood’s “The Field House.” And the Award for Excellence in Publishing went to translator John Rosenwald for “The Sonnets to Orpheus” by Rainer Maria Rilke of Covered Bridge Press. A Distinguished Achievement Award, for “outstanding and unwavering contributions to the literary arts of Maine”, was presented to Daniel Minter, artist, illustrator and co-founder of the Indigo Arts Alliance.

Go out

The twilight worldby Werner Herzog, translated by Michael Hofmann (Penguin)

ghost loverby Lisa Taddeo (Avid reader)

Diary of a movieby Niven Govinden (Deep vellum)

Choice of the week

Sally Weitzen of Wellesley Books, in Wellesley, Mass., recommends “very cold peopleby Sarah Manguso (Hogarth): “In short, austere paragraphs, Ruthie describes growing up in a suburb west of Boston where she feels she and her family never belonged. His mother was cold and unloving. Ruthie was bullied and then turned to destructive behavior starting with plucking out her eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s a piercing and chilling tale of a clearly damaged family and what it’s like to grow up unloved.

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “alarm clock, siren.” She can be contacted at [email protected]


Source link

Share.

Comments are closed.