Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big week at UCI: Ron Carlson & Colson Whitehead

On Wednesday May 20 Ron Carlson will read from his new novel, The Signal, at the UCI Bookstore.

From a starred review in Publishers Weekly:

"The dense Wind River Mountains of western Wyoming is where Carlson (Five Skies) sets his brooding latest, a tale of expired love and desperate measures. Mack, son of a longtime rancher, has made many missteps in life, culminating in a recent stint in jail where “he’d rusted like an old post when the weather turned.” While he’s in jail, his recently ex-wife Vonnie agrees to join him one last time on their annual ritual of backpacking through the Wyoming wilderness to fish, camp and rediscover each other. Mack, though, has a hidden motive: a friend/technical genius has hired him to retrieve a valuable drone that’s crash-landed in the forest. Carlson describes the couple’s six days wandering the wooded terrain in delicate, measured prose, careful to miss neither the lush scenery nor the incrementally amplified tension as Mack edges closer to his prize and shady characters from Mack’s past appear. Carlson has produced a work of masterful fiction, combining the sad inevitability of a doomed relationship with sheer nail-biting suspense."

The reading begins at 5:30.

Free as always.

Thanks to bookstore manager Matt Astrella and his staff, this venue hosts some of the county's best readings.

Thank them, why don't you?

Eat their cookies, and then buy their books.

Then on Thursday Colson Whitehead, novelist and MacArthur grant recipient, comes to the university.

He'll read from his new novel, Sag Harbor, and converse with novelist Michelle Latiolais.

The Boston Globe on Sag Harbor:

"Whitehead's most enjoyable book--warm and funny, carefully observed, and beautifully written, studded with small moments of pain and epiphany....Whitehead seems to be having the time of his life; one can almost feel him relaxing into this book as if it actually were the summer home of his youth....The humor of 'Sag Harbor'--which reaches its apex in a scene involving seminal mid-'80s hip hop group UTFO's appearance at the local waffle cone emporium, where the rapper known as Dr. Ice provides some astute medical advice--is twinned by pain. It is Benji's uncertainty about everything that gives him such perspective, imbues even his most casual observations with a sheen of elegiac wisdom....tense, lush, poignant--'Sag Harbor' at its most satisfying."

Thursday May 21 at 7 PM, with reception to follow.

At UC Irvine in HIB 135.


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