Columbus: Julia Glass and Katherine Vaz, with Katherine Howe
Please join us Wednesday, October 25th at 7pm for a reading and discussion with Julia Glass, author of A House Among the Trees, and Katherine Vaz, author of The Love Life of an Assistant Animator & Other Stories. Katherine Howe, author of The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen, will moderate the discussion.
In Julia Glass’s fifth book since her acclaimed novel Three Junes won the National Book Award, she gives us the story of an unusual bond between a world-famous writer and his assistant—a richly plotted novel of friendship and love, artistic ambition, the perils of celebrity, and the power of an unexpected legacy.
When the revered children’s book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will. Tommy knew Morty for more than four decades, since meeting him in a Manhattan playground when she was twelve and he was working on sketches for the book that would make him a star. By the end of his increasingly reclusive life, she found herself living in his house as confidante and helpmeet, witness not just to his daily routines but to the emotional fallout of his strange boyhood and his volatile relationship with a lover who died of AIDS. Now Tommy must try to honor Morty’s last wishes while grappling with their effects on several people, including Dani Daulair, her estranged brother; Meredith Galarza, the lonely, outraged museum curator to whom Lear once promised his artistic estate; and Nicholas Greene, the beguiling British actor cast to play Mort Lear in a movie.
When the actor arrives for the visit he had previously arranged with the man he is to portray, he and Tommy are compelled to look more closely at Morty’s past and the consequences of the choices they now face, both separately and together. Morty, as it turns out, made a confession to Greene that undermines much of what Tommy believed she knew about her boss—and about herself. As she contemplates a future without him, her unlikely alliance with Greene—and the loyalty they share toward the man whose legacy they hold in their hands—will lead to surprising upheavals in their wider relationships, their careers, and even their search for love.
about The Love Life of an Assistant Animator & Other Stories:
In Katherine Vaz’s new collection of short fiction, beauty is continually and painfully present in all places--in a Thanksgiving dinner assembled by a widowed DMV worker being stalked by an irate customer; in a middle-aged Hollywood actress who captivates a young studio animator for decades; in the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy; and in a daughter’s memories of the ethereal, melting ice sculptures made by a woman embroiled in an affair with a wealthy lawyer.
Amid their complex, turbulent relationships in a chronic state of crisis, Vaz’s wise and restless protagonists carry within them the seeds of a vanished, gracious world of urbane dinner parties and passionate affairs--a humane and cultured civilization whose flawed inhabitants are redeemed by their ability to blend the aesthetic imperative with the power to love.
Julia Glass is the author of five previous books of fiction, including the best-selling Three Junes, winner of the National Book Award, and I See You Everywhere, winner of the Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Other published works include the Kindle Single Chairs in the Rafters and essays in several anthologies. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Glass is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College. She lives with her family in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Katherine Vaz's work has appeared in six languages and has received numerous accolades, including the Library of Congress' Top Thirty International Books of 1998, the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and the Prairie Schooner Book Award. Her children's stories have appeared in anthologies by Viking, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. Once designated a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer and the recipient of fellowships at Harvard University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Harman Fellowship, Vaz has lectured internationally about Portuguese and Luso-American literature and is the first Portuguese-American to have her work recorded for the archives of the Library of Congress (Hispanic Division). A native Californian, she lives in New York City and East Hampton with her husband, Christopher Cerf, an editor, composer, television producer, and author.
Katherine Howe is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass. She is a lecturer in American Studies at Cornell University. She is also a direct descendant of three of the women accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch trials, one who was hanged and two who survived. Her books have been published around the world in 23 languages to date. Visit her at www.katherinehowe.com and follow her on twitter @KatherineBHowe.