Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan (A Visit from The Goon Squad) joined Andrea Yaryura Clark for a discussion about Clark’s deeply moving debut novel, On a Night of a Thousand Stars. In this heartbreaking and hopeful narrative of love and resilience, a young couple confronts the start of Argentina’s Dirty War in the 1970s, and a daughter searches for truth twenty years later. On a Night of a Thousand Stars speaks to relationships, morality, and identity during a brutal period in Argentinian history, and the understanding—and redemption—people crave in the face of tragedy. The event featured a dramatic reading of excerpts from the book by performer Paula Christensen—who also narrated the novel’s audiobook—followed by a conversation between Egan and Clark.
Photos by Kelsie Lynn Bennett
On a Night of a Thousand Stars
By Andrea Yaryura Clark
Published by Hachette Book Group
In this moving, emotional narrative of love and resilience, a young couple confronts the start of Argentina’s Dirty War in the 1970s, and a daughter searches for truth twenty years later.
New York, 1998. Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is holding court alongside his wife, Lila, and their daughter, Paloma, a college student and budding jewelry designer, at their annual summer polo match and soiree. All seems perfect in the Larreas’ world—until an unexpected party guest from Santiago’s university days shakes his usually unflappable demeanor. The woman’s cryptic comments spark Paloma’s curiosity about her father’s past, of which she knows little.
When the family travels to Buenos Aires for Santiago’s UN ambassadorial appointment, Paloma is determined to learn more about his life in the years leading up to the military dictatorship of 1976. With the help of a local university student, Franco Bonetti, an activist member of H.I.J.O.S.—a group whose members are the children of the desaparecidos, or the “disappeared,” men and women who were forcibly disappeared by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War”—Paloma unleashes a chain of events that not only leads her to question her family and her identity, but also puts her life in danger.
In compelling fashion, On a Night of a Thousand Stars speaks to relationships, morality, and identity during a brutal period in Argentinian history, and the understanding—and redemption—people crave in the face of tragedy.
Andrea Yaryura Clark
Andrea Yaryura Clark
Andrea Yaryura Clark grew up in Argentina amid the political turmoil of the 1970s until her family relocated to North America. After completing her university studies, she returned to Buenos Aires to reconnect with her roots. By the mid-1990s, many sons and daughters of the “Disappeared”—the youngest victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s—were coming of age and grappling with the fates of their families. She interviewed several of these children, and their experiences, not widely known outside Argentina, inspired her debut novel, On a Night of a Thousand Stars. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two sons and a spirited terrier.
Photo Credit: David Jacobs
Jennifer Egan is the author of six previous books of fiction: A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald City; Look at Me, a National Book Award Finalist; The Invisible Circus; and most recently, Manhattan Beach, which won the Carnegie Medal for literary excellence. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s, and the New York Times magazine. She was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco and lives in New York, where she serves as president of PEN America.
Paula Christensen is thrilled to have narrated the forthcoming audiobook version of Andrea Yaryura Clark’s debut novel On a Night of a Thousand Stars. Born into a prominent show business family in Buenos Aires, Argentina and raised in the suburbs of New York City, she has performed extensively on stage and in television in New York and Los Angeles. Some favorite career highlights include guest starring on sitcoms such as Two Broke Girls and Modern Family, performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, originating the role of Nicky in Stephanie Zadravec’s Colony Collapse at Boston Court Pasadena (Ovation Award, Best Featured Actress in a Play) and starring in La Casa de Azucar, the final film directed by famed Argentine writer, director, producer (and Paula’s grandfather), Carlos Hugo Christensen.
Paula holds a performance studies certificate from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, was a member of the Groundlings Theater performance ensemble in Los Angeles, and is a Magna Cum Laude with honors graduate from Amherst College. She is an adjunct professor of comedy writing at Pace University.