Grants entry for 1 plus $10 voucher towards any purchase at our bookstore.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
William Deresiewicz, writing in The Nation in 2011, characterized Ann Beattie’s work as about “People yearning to escape, then yearning to escape their escape . . . Beside the sorrow, like a rainbow edge, was a perfectly poker-faced humor.” Beattie is unmatched in her ability to convey the subtle power struggles of human communication and the manipulations of relationships. Beattie is a master of minimalist narrative and Michael Carroll’s no holds barred style could be described as maximalist but both authors have an acute understanding of life’s messy, topsy-turvy, glory.
In A Wonderful Stroke of Luck, Beattie’s characters are living in the shadow of 9/11. Beattie subtly explores the way that day of chaotic, obliterating loss wended its way into our understanding of the world, leaving even those who it did not personally touch unsettled and a little less hopeful. Though she is best known for portraying an entirely different generation, Beattie’s literary sensibility seems surprisingly well-matched to exploring this one on an emotional level.
Stella Maris is about the verities of illness and death. The past and its prisoners, AIDS, the young and not so young man’s realization of his own mortality. It’s about the unpredictable nature of life, and of survival. It’s about new beginnings and final recognitions.
Beattie and Carroll will read from their work and discuss the beauties, horrors, profits and pitfalls of emotion, loss, and the conditions that profoundly connect us to one another.
Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections, in John Updike’s The Best American Short Stories of the Century, and in Jennifer Egan’s The Best American Short Stories 2014. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Maine and Key West, Florida.
Photo credit Eileen O'Donnel
Photo credit Eileen O'Donnel
Michael Carroll’s Little Reef and Other Stories won the 2015 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Little Reef was also a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Publishing Triangle Award. His work has been included or is forthcoming in the Yale Review, Southwest Review, Open City, The Harvard Review, and other journals, as well as in The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, he taught in Yemen and the Czech Republic. He presently teaches in the summer writing program at John Cabot University in Rome and lives in New York.
A Wonderful Stroke of Luck
By Ann Beattie
Published by Viking
Longtime readers of Beattie’s will be pleased to find the same indelible, laconic observations about relationships, life’s mysteries and disappointments, that make her short fiction so beloved. In A Wonderful Stroke of Luck, Beattie allows herself a longer format to explore the connections among a group of people who attended a boarding school in the very early aughts and fell under the spell of an enigmatic, manipulative teacher.
Stella Maris: and Other Key West Stories
By Michael Carroll
Published by Turtle Point Press
When Cuban fisherman first spotted the Key West lighthouse floating in Florida waters, they called her Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. It’s a beacon that draws people from everywhere seeking the end-of-the-line bohemian oasis that can still be found amidst the condo share towers, chain stores, and Redneck Riviera clientele. And it’s a mecca for gay men and the women who love them. Michael Carroll knows the territory intimately. His stories wind in and out of the bars and guesthouses and lives of this singular paradise: a memorial for a drag queen held at the vicar’s Victorian leads to uneasy encounters; two Southern sisters on a cruise ship holiday battle the ravages of alcohol, estrangement, and deadly weather. Newly divorced gay men (already a phenomenon) lick their wounds and bask in the island’s lasting social twilight. At the all-male, clothing-optional resort, guys of all ages fall into one another’s paths, enjoy themselves as they please, and surprise one another with their views and preconceptions.
“[Carroll’s] stories, keenly―even cruelly―observant, occupy the verges of love and death where the truest and most recklessly aware emotions abide.”
―Joy Williams2 .
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