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VIRTUAL: ZYZZYVA & The Booksmith Present: Lockdown Lit @ Lunch with Melanie Abrams & Andrew Altschul
June 2 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Booksmith and The Bindery, in partnership with Zyzzyva, present Lockdown Lit @ Lunch, a weekly salon, Tuesdays at 11am PST. Lockdown Literature is a group of authors with books published during the coronavirus pandemic who have banded together to support one another. This event features Melanie Abrams (Meadowlark) & Andrew Altschul (The Gringa).
You can find a full list of Lockown Lit authors here. Please save the date and join us!
This event will be streaming live on our Facebook page.
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Meadowlark by Melanie Abrams
After growing up in an austere spiritual compound, two teenagers, Simrin and Arjun, escape and go their separate ways. Years later, Simrin receives an email from Arjun. As they reconnect, Simrin learns that he has become the charismatic leader of Meadowlark, a commune in the Nevada desert that allows children to discover their “gifts.”
In spite of their fractured relationship, Simrin, a photojournalist, agrees to visit Meadowlark to document its story. She arrives at the commune with her five-year-old daughter in tow and soon realizes there is something disturbing about Arjun’s beliefs concerning children and their unusual abilities. When she discovers that the commune is in the midst of a criminal investigation, her unease grows deeper still.
As tensions with police heighten, Arjun’s wife begins to make plans of her own, fearing the exposure the investigation might bring for her and her children. Both mothers find themselves caught in a desperate situation, and as the conflict escalates, everyone involved must make painful–and potentially tragic–choices that could change their worlds forever.
Gripping and beautifully crafted, Meadowlark explores the power and danger of being extraordinary and what it means to see and be seen.
Melanie Abrams is the author of the novels Playing and Meadowlark. Melanie teaches writing at UC Berkeley and is a photographer and developmental editor. She is married to the writer Vikram Chandra, and they live with their children in Oakland, CA.
The Gringa by Andrew Altschul
Leonora Gelb came to Peru to make a difference. A passionate and idealistic Stanford grad, she left a life of privilege to fight poverty and oppression, but her beliefs are tested when she falls in with violent revolutionaries. While death squads and informants roam the streets and suspicion festers among the comrades, Leonora plans a decisive act of protest—until her capture in a bloody government raid, and a sham trial that sends her to prison for life.
Ten years later, Andres—a failed novelist turned expat—is asked to write a magazine profile of “La Leo.” As his personal life unravels, he struggles to understand Leonora, to reconstruct her involvement with the militants, and to chronicle Peru’s tragic history. At every turn he’s confronted by violence and suffering, and by the consequences of his American privilege. Is the real Leonora an activist or a terrorist? Cold-eyed conspirator or naïve puppet? And who is he to decide?
In this powerful and timely new novel, Andrew Altschul maps the blurred boundaries between fact and fiction, author and text, resistance and extremism. Part coming-of-age story and part political thriller, The Gringa asks what one person can do in the face of the world’s injustice.
Andrew Altschul is the author of three novels—The Gringa, Deux Ex Machina, and Lady Lazarus. His work has appeared in anthologies including Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best New American Voices, and O. Henry Prize Stories. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, he has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the Ucross Foundation, and the Fundacíon Valparaíso. The former director of the Center for Literary Arts in San José, Altschul currently directs the Creative Writing program at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins.
This event is free and all ages.