As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “Three Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam in the week leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events. While most of the authors will be featured on our special 3 questions page, once each month we will spotlight ONE of the many amazing authors visiting the Norwich Bookstore here on our main page.
We are pleased to welcome Carole DeSanti, the author of The Unruly Passions of Eugenia R, to The Book Jam. This historical novel has been a work-in-progress for ten years as Ms. DeSanti’s work as an editior for authors such as Dorothy Alison and Terri McMillan occupies her full time. The Unruly Passions follows the life – and passions – of Eugenie, a young girl from the Pyrenees who is lured to 19th century Paris by her nobleman lover. When she finds herself pregnant, sixteen, and abandoned by her child’s father, Eugenie must chose between starvation and working at the illicit “Les Deux Soeurs” brothel. And social upheaval in the form of the Franco-Prussian War is soon to follow. Ms. DeSanti will be reading from her book at 7 pm on May 9th at the Norwich Bookstore. Call 802-649-1114 to reserve your spot.
Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time was the first piece of fiction that startled me into realizing, as a young girl, that we could travel back into history. That novel brought the past alive and changed my view of the world forever. Then, The Brontës; but especially the relationship between Jane Eyre (which I also read when I was young) and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, which taught me that you could go back IN to literature, as a creator. I’m counting them as one so I can mention Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, which knocked me over when I read it for the first time.
Emile Zola, provided he was in a relaxed mood and we could do it in Aix-en-Provence or Paris. He was a fierce realist, a fanatical researcher, and he believed society could be changed by literature. (We consider that a romantic opinion today, of course.) Eugénie R. is in many ways a response to his novel Nana, because with all of his research and realism, he could not give a woman who lived as Nana did — as a Paris courtesan — an inner life and an ability to reflect. I want to ask him why not, so that might lead us into a heated argument! He also worked in book publishing, as I do, and I’d love to compare notes.
Magic: A history of its rites, rituals and mysteries by Eliphas Levi — a classic book on the occult published in 1913; an ARC (advance reading copy) of Deborah Harkness’s Shadow of Night, Property by Valerie Martin; and The Food Matters Cookbook, Mark Bittman’s new volume on healthy eating, various tomes on gardening (as it’s spring) and David Cordingly’s book on seafaring women – Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors’ Wives. There are more on this toppling pile but I’ll stop there!