Wednesday, 1:00 pm EDT June 2, 2021
Online via Zoom
We are excited to welcome Martha Cooley for a conversation on the launch of her newest novel Buy Me Love, slated for release on June 1st. A contemplation on the confusions of money and free will, her novel follows protagonist Ellen Portinari in the month after learning she won a hundred-million-dollar lottery. Cooley will be joined by author (and Center for Fiction reading group instructor!) Sheridan Hay (The Secret of Lost Things) for a lunchtime conversation on the book and craft.
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Martha Cooley is the author of two novels—The Archivist, a national bestseller also published in a dozen foreign markets, and Thirty-Three Swoons—and a memoir, Guesswork. She co-translated Antonio Tabucchi’s story collection Time Ages in a Hurry. Her essays, short fiction, and co-translations have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and numerous leading literary journals. She directs the MFA in Creative Writing at Adelphi University, where she is a Professor of English. Prior to Adelphi, she taught for fifteen years in the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives in Forest Hills (Queens), New York, and Castiglione del Terziere, Italy.
Sheridan Hay holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first novel, The Secret of Lost Things (Doubleday/Anchor), which features a lost novel by Herman Melville, was a Booksense Pick, a Barnes and Noble Discover selection, shortlisted for the Border’s Original Voices Fiction Prize, and nominated for the International Impac Award. A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and a New York Times Editor’s Choice, foreign rights have been sold in fourteen countries. Sheridan has led the Center’s Moby-Dick reading group many times, as well as leading a popular Henry James group.
Buy Me Love
By Martha Cooley
Published by Red Hen Press
In Brooklyn, New York, in 2005, Ellen Portinari buys a lottery ticket on a whim; not long after, she realizes she’s won a hundred-million-dollar jackpot. With a month to redeem the ticket, she tells no one but her alcoholic brother—a talented composer whose girlfriend has died in a terrorist attack abroad—about her preposterous good luck.
As the clock ticks, Ellen caroms from incredulity to giddiness to dread as she tries to reckon with the potential consequences of her win. She becomes unexpectedly involved with a man and boy she’s met at her local gym. While she grapples with the burden of secret-keeping and the tug of a new intimacy, a Brooklyn street artist named Blair Talpa is contending with her own challenges: a missing brother, an urge to make art that will “derange orbits,” and a lack of money.
En route to redeem the lottery ticket, Ellen finds her prospects entwining by chance with Blair’s—which allows Ellen to reimagine luck’s relation to loss, and the reader to revel in surprise.
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