Anyone who’s read Liza Klaussmann’s fantastic Tigers in Red Weather knows that cousins Nick and Helena looove their gin and tonics. Set on Martha’s Vineyard, the novel was just recently released in paperback. We’ll talk with Liza and give away copies of Tigers on the July 15 Literary New England Radio Show. To whet (or really wet!) your appetite, here’s Liza on how to make the perfect Vineyard gin and tonic. For those who’d love the chance to meet Liza face to face, she and Mary Simses, author of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, will be atLadies Who Launch – Southwest Connecticut on July 18 in Darien, Connecticut.
“On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomach ache.” ― Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar …. Happy birthday, Eric! 84 years young today!!
Book trailer for Massachusetts native Amor Towles’ new novella “Eve in Hollywood,” released today by Penguin. The story focuses on Evelyn Ross, one of the most memorable characters in Amor’s best-selling novel “Rules of Civility.” Published as an ebook, “Eve in Hollywood”takes Eve (and readers!) into the heart of old Hollywood—to the elegant rooms of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the fabled tables of Antonio’s, the amusement parks on the Santa Monica piers, the afro-Cuban dance clubs off Central Avenue and, ultimately, to the set of Gone with the Wind. We had the pleasure of talking with Amor about Rules of Civility, which you can hear in the Literary New England Radio Show Archives.
Hear and feel the beauty of this poem–perfect for summertime–written by the incredibly talented Jonas Zdanys of Connecticut. Pure Lit New England!
The simple lyrics of waves
and sea flowers stutter
like feathery tufts of light
through darkness brittle
as charred paper. Loose shapes
of birds clip the water,
trolling the banks
of the Kennebunk, and slip
without sound through reeds
pared by the stitch of night.
On this narrow furrow
of shore wedged between
the river and sea, you touch
your fingers to my wrist,
in one cupped hand holding
the pale shells you gathered
to catch the light. The grasses
creak and the moon casts
small circles on the river,
spiking white slivers of water
that hum with the cold
flat voice of the wind.
The tuned gathering of mist
and clouds above water
that cannot hold the tympanic moon
shrouds the horizon like gray gauze.
Waves in the distance break
in a noiseless slide, lines
smoothed to sheets of dark green
oiled by dapples of light
from shore that flash
off the contours of watery foam
ruffled by a wind far out at sea.
Quickened tangles of birches
and scrub pines press forward
in half-relief toward sand
leached to blue shadows
by the curl of the coming tide.
Head down, you stare into the fire
as it reddens the stacked
driftwood and lights your hair,
flames fingering the leaves
of the trees that frame you and moving
like brittle chimes in the wind.
The landscape is suddenly still
as the cramped angle and thin
crack of sky shift blue
along the bend in the river
and flatten to a wedge of yellow
that threads with the current
among the knobbed rocks,
sliding back upon itself
and retreating into shadows
bent as sticks in clear water.
In this place preserved from the sea,
under the worn fingers of trees
thinning to clouds and fog
above the river, you trace
the outline of the dead bird
lit by the moon in the sand,
wing feathers gray as stone,
hissing like the wind hollowed
at dead center, like sagging leaves
fluttering against the scrape of water,
like unmoored things drifting
aimless and shimmering to silence.
The veiled flanks of the river
are flecked with primrose and laurel,
flowers gone to the hard mercy
of wind that skims shoals
thick and black with mussels. The bristle
of water in eddies and pools
thickens an octave to a soft lament
trembling among rocks sour
with the sea’s smell curling
in the measured breeze from the east
that brings the first taste of dawn
to birds unwound on the shifting waves.
You stretch strands of eelgrass
across the rocks, arrange pieces
of driftwood softened by water
like a cradle or trap around the tide
pool at your feet, foraging in water
streaked by first light for signs
of life, face pressed against knees
that muffle a voice rising slowly
from your hollows like a small cry
lost between the sea and wind.
Water spreads luminous and thin
across the pale blue bruise
of morning as it shifts to white
in the pulse of reeds ringed
by the crouch of night. The play
of light bursts among the twisted vines
where the sea and river turn to land
and the sting of water hardens
to circles of dark birds strumming
the trees, the shape of something
fragile and small scattered to flight,
trickling through crevices of fog
in the clustered shallows
that mark the end of the season.
Forgotten like a seed cast
on dry sand, your face softens
to a weightless blur mitered
in the scrim of morning by bird song
that floats like mist across the inlet
where water brushes the sky
and touches us, transfigured by light
to counterpoints of silence and wind.
They use fiction to help understand today’s world, re-imagine yesterday’s world, and create a world that (as far as we know) has never existed. Join us tomorrow at 8 pm on the Literary New England Radio Show for insightful and inspiring conversations with:
- Anthony Marra on A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
- Amy Butler Greenfield on Chantress
- Laura Andersen on The Boleyn King
- Lionel Shriver on Big Brother
Listeners will have the chance to win all four books!
Stowe’s connection to the spirits
Author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe was born 202 years ago today on June 14, 1811. Although she is best known for her 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the affects it had on both slavery and anti-slavery supporters, she wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs and collections of articles and letters. Two of the houses she lived in are located in New England — one in Brunswick, Maine, where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and one in Hartford, Connecticut, where she lived for the last 23 years of her life. The Maine house (near Bowdoin College where her husband was a professor) is not open to the public. But the one in Hartford is. It’s located next door to the Mark Twain House & Museum and is a fascinating place where, among other things, visitors learn about Stowe’s deep interest and involvement in Spiritualism — the belief that the spirits of the dead can (and want to!) communicate with the living. During her lifetime, many seances took place at Stowe’s house. Many people today say the house is haunted, as this video explains. Happy birthday, Harriet!
Although it’s called North Peak in The Book Borrower, East Rock Park in New Haven, CT, is the inspiration for, and real-life setting of, many scenes in Alice Mattison’s 2008, best-selling novel. Main characters Toby Ruben and Deborah Laidlaw—young mothers who become close friends—meet at the park and take several walks there during their 20-odd years of friendship. The entire book, in fact, takes place in a city very much like New Haven, where Mattison lives. “In my mind it is New Haven,” Mattison says, “but I don’t say that in the book because I wanted to be able to alter the city as I needed to.” The Book Borrower was named a New York Times Notable Book.