Women's National Book Association
About WNBA: Since its founding in 1954, the Boston Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association has worked to bring together women and men from all different segments of the book world – publishing professionals, reading groups, writers, academics, and anyone else who loves books – by providing a range of events that aim to educate, entertain, and inspire. The WNBA-Boston also seeks to promote equality in the world of arts and letters by helping mentor young women interested in writing and publishing and by raising awareness of the professional challenges still extant for women striving to enter the business of books.
About the Books:
Budapest: gorgeous city of secrets, with ties to a shadowy, bloody past. It is to this enigmatic European capital that a young American couple, Annie and Will, move from Boston with their infant son shortly after the fall of the Communist regime. For Annie, it is an effort to escape the ghosts that haunt her past, and Will wants simply to seize the chance to build a new future for his family.
Eight months after their move, their efforts to assimilate are thrown into turmoil when they receive a message from friends in the US asking that they check up on an elderly man, a fiercely independent Jewish American WWII veteran who helped free Hungarian Jews from a Nazi prison camp. They soon learn that the man, Edward Weiss, has come to Hungary to exact revenge on someone he is convinced seduced, married, and then murdered his daughter.
Annie, unable to resist anyone’s call for help, recklessly joins in the old man’s plan to track down his former son-in-law and confront him, while Will, pragmatic and cautious by nature, insists they have nothing to do with Weiss and his vendetta. What Annie does not anticipate is that in helping Edward she will become enmeshed in a dark and deadly conflict that will end in tragedy and a stunning loss of innocence.
Their stories open in 1930s India, where Elsie lives with her authoritarian missionary husband and their children. Returning to the American Midwest as a teenager, Kathryn feels alienated and restless. When she loses her mother prematurely to a stroke, she escapes to Oregon for a fresh start. Disappointed that her education was cut short by her father, and dreaming of becoming a writer, she supports herself as a waitress in wartime America, dating soldiers, then meeting and marrying Finnish-American Carl. A construction worker sixteen years her senior, he is an unlikely match, though appealing in his care-free ways and stark difference from her Mennonite past. But Kathryn ends up feeling trapped in the marriage, her ambitions thwarted. Samantha, who’s grown up in the atmosphere of her mother’s discontent, follows her own career to teach at a university in faraway Boston, where she maintains a happy family of her own.
When Kathryn starts to fail, Samantha moves her mother near her to care for, and then to watch over her deathbed, where “something in the room―the spell, the cord knitting them together―is cut. Or no, that can’t be right, either.” Ultraviolet is a lyrical novel of great emotional depth. Suzanne Matson recognizes both the drama that is within every existence and the strengths and fragilities of our relationships with others. She shines a brilliant light on the complexities of marriage, motherhood, aging, and the end of life.
Five people, each with a different idealistic bent, converge in an impoverished Colorado town in the heart of the Rockies. Caleb Silver is the charismatic founder of Llamalo, a back-to-the-land summer camp in the high desert. Don Talc and his son Donnie are rachers who believe Caleb conspired to steal their land. David Cohen is a high school student who becomes a follower of Caleb and turns Llamalo into his personal religion. And Rebecca Silver is the devoted daughter of 1960s radicals, innocent in matters of sex, scornful of David's passion. By year's end, all of these converging lives will change forever.
About the authors:
Jessica Keener is the author of the bestselling novel Night Swim and a collection of award-winning short stories, Women in Bed. Her work has appeared in O, the Oprah Magazine, Redbook, the Boston Globe, Agni, and others. She has taught English literature and writing at Brown University, Boston University, the University of Miami, and GrubStreet. She lives in Brookline, Mass. Learn more at www.jessicakeener.com.
SUZANNE MATSON was born in Portland, Oregon, and studied at Portland State University and the University of Washington. Her first novel, The Hunger Moon, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Her third, The Tree-Sitter, was short-listed for the PEN New England/L. L. Winship Award. She has published two poetry collections with Alice James Books, teaches at Boston College, and lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
Heather Abel was raised in Santa Monica, California. She attended Swarthmore College and subsequently worked as a reporter and editor for political newspapers. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in fiction from the New School, where she later taught creative nonfiction writing. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband and two daughters.