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Chloe Benjamin and Aja Gabel
July 11, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friends and talented literary voices, Chloe Benjamin and Aja Gabel will be in conversation to discuss their fantastic new novels. Benjamin’s national bestseller and Bookshop staff favorite The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion. Gabel’s The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth.
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children–four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness–sneak out to hear their fortunes.
The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
Jana. Brit. Daniel. Henry. They would never have been friends if they hadn’t needed each other. They would never have found each other except for the art which drew them together. They would never have become family without their love for the music, for each other.
Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest and an angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group’s youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other – by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, by choosing each other over and over again.
Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel’s debut novel gives a riveting look into the high-stakes, cutthroat world of musicians, and of lives made in concert. The story of Brit and Henry and Daniel and Jana, The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth.
Chloe Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Immortalists. Her first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was long listed for the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin. She lives with her husband in Madison, WI.
Aja Gabel’s writing has appeared in BOMB, The Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. A former cellist, she earned her B.A. at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia and has a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Aja has been the recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee Writers” Conference, Literary Arts Oregon, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she was a fellow in fiction. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
This free event will take place in Bookshop Santa Cruz. Chairs for open seating are usually set up about an hour before the event begins.