Archive for historical fiction

SKYLIT: Malia Márquez, ”THIS FIERCE BLOOD” w/ Michael Zapata

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction, latinx, skylit by skylightbooks on October 16th, 2021
In rural late-nineteenth-century New England, Wilhelmina Sylte is a settler starting a family with her Norwegian immigrant husband. When she forms an inexplicable connection with a mountain lion and her cubs living near their farm, Mina grapples with divided loyalties and the mysterious bond she shares with the animals.

In 1927 in southern Colorado, Josepa is accused of witchcraft by a local priest for using the healing practices passed down from her Native mother. Fighting for her family’s reputation and way of life, Sepa finds strength in worldly and otherworldly sources.

When Magdalena, an ecologist, inherits her great-grandmother Wilhelmina’s Vermont property, she and her astrophysicist husband decide to turn the old farm into a summer science camp for teens. As Magda struggles with both personal and professional responsibilities, the boundary between science and myth begins to blur.

Rich in historical and cultural detail, This Fierce Blood combines magical realism with themes of maternal ancestral inheritance, and also explores the ways Hispano/Indigenous traditions both conflicted and wove together, shaping the distinctive character of the American Southwest. Readers of Téa Obreht and Ruth Ozeki will find much to admire in this debut novel.

 
Author Malia Márquez is in conversation with Michael Zapata.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, Natalie Freeman, & Michael Kowaleski.

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Joie Davidow, “AN UNOFFICIAL MARRIAGE” w/ Esmerelda Santiago

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction, novels, skylit by skylightbooks on July 21st, 2021
Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events of 19th century Europe, An Unofficial Marriage dramatizes the equally tumultuous real-life love affair of two great artists—the famous Russian author, Ivan Turgenev, and the celebrated French opera singer, Pauline Viardot. From the moment he encounters her on the St. Petersburg stage, Ivan falls completely for Pauline. Though Pauline returns his feelings, she is bound by her singular passion for her art and her devotion to her gentle, older husband, Louis. Nevertheless, Ivan pursues Pauline across countries and continents—from Russia to France to Germany to Prussia—and in the decades that follow their fateful meeting, the lives of Pauline, Ivan, and Louis remain permanently intertwined as the lovers face jealousy, separation, the French Revolution of 1848, the cholera epidemic of 1849, the Franco-Prussian War, Turgenev’s arrest in Russia, Louis’s heartbreak and resignation, and the highs and lows of their artistic careers. “You know those unofficial marriages,” Turgenev would write almost thirty years after meeting Pauline, “They sometimes turn out more poisonous than the accepted form.”
 
With beautiful and compelling prose and employing multiple perspectives, Joie Davidow (who herself has a background in opera) illuminates not only the interior lives of these two intensely passionate artists, but also the grand historic moments that Pauline and Ivan experienced and the celebrated figures who moved in their circles—including George Sand, Leo Tolstoy, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, and Ary Scheffer—providing insight into the dynamic worlds of 19th century opera, literature, art, and politics. Epic in the tradition of the Russian writers whom we encounter, and as romantic and tragic as the operas that Pauline Viardot performs in, An Unofficial Marriage brings to life with great scope and great humanity this captivating story from the past and explores timeless questions about the relationship between art and passion and the complex workings of the human heart.
 
Davidow is in conversation with Esmerelda Santiago.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Anjali Enjeti, “THE PARTED EARTH”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction, novels, skylit by skylightbooks on June 4th, 2021

The story begins in August 1947. Unrest plagues the streets of New Delhi leading up to the birth of the Muslim majority nation of Pakistan, and the Hindu majority nation of India. Sixteen-year-old Deepa navigates the changing politics of her home, finding solace in messages of intricate origami from her secret boyfriend Amir. Soon Amir flees with his family to Pakistan and a tragedy forces Deepa to leave the subcontinent forever.

The story also begins sixty years later and half a world away, in Atlanta. While grieving both a pregnancy loss and the implosion of her marriage, Deepa's granddaughter Shan begins the search for her estranged grandmother, a prickly woman who had little interest in knowing her. As she pieces together her family history shattered by the Partition, Shan discovers how little she actually knows about the women in her family and what they endured.

Join us as author Anjali Enjeti discusses her debut The Parted Earth.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




Janet Fitch, “CHIMES OF A LOST CATHEDRAL”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction by skylightbooks on August 2nd, 2019

The story of The Revolution of Marina M. continues in bestselling author Janet Fitch's sweeping epic about a young woman's coming into her own against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. 

After the events of The Revolution of Marina M., the young Marina Makarova finds herself on her own amid the devastation of the Russian Civil War---pregnant and adrift in the Russian countryside, forced onto her own resourcefulness to find a place to wait out the birth of her child. She finds new strength and self-reliance to fortify her in her sojourn, and to prepare her for the hardships and dilemmas still to come.

When she finally returns to Petrograd, the city almost unrecognizable after two years of revolution, the haunted, half-emptied, starving Capital of Once Had Been, she finds the streets teeming with homeless children, victims of war. Now fully a woman, she takes on the challenge of caring for these civil war orphans, until they become the tool of tragedy from an unexpected direction.

But despite the ordeal of war and revolution, betrayal and privation and unimaginable loss, Marina at last emerges as the poet she was always meant to be.

Chimes of a Lost Cathedral finishes the epic story of Marina's journey through some of the most dramatic events of the last century---as a woman and an artist, entering her full power, passion, and creativity just as her revolution reveals its true direction for the future.




G. Willow Wilson, “THE BIRD KING”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction by skylightbooks on April 22nd, 2019

It’s 1491 and a party representing the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrives to negotiate the terms of the sultan’s surrender, but Hassan has a secret—he can make maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality with his pen and paper. His magical gift, which has proven useful to the sultan’s armies in wartime and entertained a bored Fatima who has never stepped foot outside the palace walls, could now be seen as sorcery and a threat to the Christian Spanish rule. Fatima befriends one of the women, little realizing that her new friend Luz represents the Inquisition and soon Fatima must risk everything to save Hassan, and taste the freedom she has never known.

As Fatima and Hassan flee the forces of the Inquistion in search of safe harbor, they are helped along the way by a jinn who has taken a liking to them—Vikram the Vampire, who readers may remember from Alif the Unseen.

The Bird King is an epic adventure from an essential voice in American fiction. It is a jubilant story that challenges us to consider what true love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.




Rabeah Ghaffari, “TO KEEP THE SUN ALIVE”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction by skylightbooks on February 12th, 2019

The year is 1979. The Iranian Revolution is just around the corner, as is a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse. Meanwhile, in the northeastern city of Naishapur, a retired judge and his wife, Bibi, run an ancient orchard, growing apples, plums, peaches, and sour cherries, and looking after several generations of family members. The days here are marked by long, elaborate lunches on the terrace and arguments about government corruption and the rise of religious fundamentalism, peppered with tales of ancient Persia that foreshadow the seismic political changes to come.

And yet life continues. Bibi, the matriarch, struggles to keep her family together. Her young nephew goes to university, hoping to lead the fight for a new Iran and marry his childhood sweetheart. Another nephew surrenders to opium, while his father longs for a life in Europe. Her brother-in-law evolves into a powerful Islamic cleric while her husband retreats into intellectual reflection. Told through a host of vivid, unforgettable characters, ranging from children to servants to friends of the family, Rabeah Ghaffari's To Keep the Sun Alive is the kind of compelling, rich story that not only informs the past, but also reminds us of the human aspirations that animate historical events.




A.G. Lombardo, “GRAFFITI PALACE”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction by skylightbooks on July 15th, 2018

It’s August 1965 and Los Angeles is scorching. Americo Monk, a street-haunting aficionado of graffiti, is frantically trying to return home to the makeshift harbor community (assembled from old shipping containers) where he lives with his girlfriend, Karmann. But this is during the Watts Riots, and although his status as a chronicler of all things underground garners him free passage through the territories fiercely controlled by gangs, his trek is nevertheless diverted.

Embarking on an exhilarating, dangerous, and at times paranormal journey, Monk crosses paths with a dizzying array of representatives from Los Angeles subcultures, including Chinese gangsters, graffiti bombers, witches, the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, and others. Graffiti Palace is the story of a city transmogrified by the upsurge of its citizens, and Monk is our tour guide, cataloging and preserving the communities that, though surreptitious and unseen, nevertheless formed the backbone of 1960s Los Angeles.

With an astounding generosity of imagery and imagination, Graffiti Palace heralds the birth of a major voice in fiction. A. G. Lombardo sees the writings on our walls, and with Graffiti Palace he has provided an allegorical paean to a city in revolt.




Damien Ober, “DOCTOR BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S DREAM AMERICA”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, fiction, historical fiction by skylightbooks on July 1st, 2018

Damien Ober's Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America is a blazingly original fictional history that weaves twenty-first century technology into a saddle-punk retelling of the American Revolution. It is 1777. Hours after a top-secret Congressional sub-committee uploads the Articles of Confederation, a mysterious internet plague breaks loose in the cloud, killing any user who accesses a networked device. Seven in ten Americans are dead, the internet is abandoned.

Seizing the moment, the British take control of New York and Philadelphia, scattering what little remains of the rebellion. Just when all seems lost, George Washington reappears from off-the- grid to pin the British army at Yorktown. Independence is won, but with the countryside in ruins and internet commerce impossible, the former colonies teeter on the brink of collapse. Meeting in secret, a faction of the Founding Fathers code a new error-proof operating system designed to stabilize the cloud and
ensure everlasting American prosperity. 

Not everyone is happy with the new format. Believing the draconian regulations of the new OS a betrayal of the hard-fought revolution, Thomas Jefferson organizes a feisty, small-government opposition to fight the overreach of Washington's Federalist administration. Their most valuable weapon is Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America, a new open-source social networking portal which will revolutionize representative government, return power to the people, and make Congress and the Presidency irrelevant . . .

Ober is joined by author Ben Loory, author of the collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, and a picture book for children, The Baseball Player and the Walrus.





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