The Book Cellar
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Join us at The Book Cellar for a night of comedy with our favorite funny ladies, The Kates!
The show starts as 7 pm, so be sure to arrive early for seats and drinks!
Local author Jessica Chiarella comes to The Book Cellar to launch the paperback of her acclaimed novel And Again.
Jessica Chiarella is a native of the Chicago area. She holds an MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and is currently a student in the University of California, Riverside's MFA in Creative Writing program.
AND AGAIN is the story of four terminally-ill patients who are given new, cloned bodies as part of a pilot program called SUBlife. While the “SUBs” are exact replicas of the patients’ former bodies, they are also genetically perfect, spared the onslaught of environmental damage that accompanies a normal life. Their vision is perfect. Old injuries disappear. Food tastes different. Scars, tattoos, and even the muscle memory they have always taken for granted is now gone. Their lives are saved, but their physical identities have been wiped away.
The novel follows these characters as they reenter their lives and find that they have been both restored, and unmade, by this medical miracle. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, discovers she can no longer paint. David, a congressman, attempts to hide his transformation from the public even as he continues to grapple with his old habits. Connie, an actress whose bombshell looks are restored after a protracted illness, attempts to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty. And Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after an auto accident, finds she can no longer connect with the family she once loved. Throughout the following year, their return to health proves fraught with unbelievable rewards, and unimaginable risks.
Ashley Prentice Norton comes home to Chicago and The Book Cellar to launch her second book If You Left.
ASHLEY PRENTICE NORTON grew up in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, and Georgetown. Her critically acclaimed first novel, THE CHOCOLATE MONEY, was heralded as "darkly funny . . . compulsively readable" by People. She lives in New York with her husband and three children. IF YOU LEFT is her second novel.
IF YOU LEFT-
For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the reliable, affectionate mother their nine year-old daughter Clem deserves. Her plan: to bring Clem to their Easthampton home once school is out — with no “summer girl” to care for her this time — and become “normal.”
But Oliver is distant and controlling, and his relationship with their interior decorator seems a bit too close; Clem has learned to be self-sufficient, and getting to know her now feels like very hard work for Althea. Into this scene enters the much younger, David Foster Wallace–reading house painter, who reaches something in Althea that has been long buried.
Fearless, darkly funny, and compulsively readable, IF YOU LEFT explores the complex dance that is the bipolar marriage, and the possibility that to move forward, we might have to destroy the very things we've worked hardest to build.
PRAISE FOR ASHLEY PRENTICE NORTON-
“A woman suffering from bipolar disorder reaches a crossroads in her marriage and her life in this irresistible, tightly plotted novel…Norton (The Chocolate Money) writes Althea with a sure hand, unsentimental in her portrayal of a woman who is ruled by her illness and her codependent relationship with Oliver, yet desperately yearns for more. The lean narrative is unflinching, which only makes Althea’s story, and her eventual self-enlightenment, even more poignant.” – Publishers Weekly
"Darkly funny... Compulsively readable" —People
“If You Left examines two of the most complex, compelling topics of our time—marriage, and mental illness. With devastating yet loving candor, Norton shows how one mapped onto the other can cause any heart to break, any mind to break open.” —Lea Carpenter, author of Eleven Days
"Norton…writes fearlessly, and the results are compelling.” —Booklist
“Ashley Prentice Norton’s If You Left uses a summer in East Hampton as the backdrop for a brutally honest tale of her protagonist's struggle with mental illness, motherhood, a failing marriage, and her need to fulfill herself as both a woman and an artist.” —Charles Dubow, author of Indiscretion
TallGrass Writers Guild members present original work on Magic. From ancient rites, rituals, and spells to the magic of meeting 'The One' on some enchanted evening when seeing a stranger across a crowded room, the idea of magical forces has inspired writers through the ages. How many spells were cast in Shakespeare's magical forests? How many movies about paranormal powers continue to attract large audiences? TallGrass talent including Martin Altman, Susan Dewar, Willa Moore, Anne Schultz, Whitney Scott, Joe Weintraub explore this universally compelling theme through stories and poetry.
TallGrass Writers Guild is Chicago-based, 501-C-3 nonprofit arts organization serving writers at all levels of development for almost 30 years. TWG provides local, regional, national, and international performance and publication opportunities.
The Old St. Pat's Book Group meets to discuss their July selection, Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi
We're excited to help Shawn Shiftlett launch his new novel Hey, Liberal! at the Greenhouse Theater.
Keep your eyes here and HERE for additional details!
Shawn Shiflett is an associate professor of creative writing at Columbia College in Chicago. He is the author of Hidden Place, which was included in Library Journal’s 2004 “Summer Highs, Fall Firsts” list of “most successful debuts.” He lives in Chicago.
Hey, Liberal! (a story inspired by true events)
In this honest novel set in the racial tinderbox of Chicago in 1969, thirteen-year-old Simon Fleming, the white son of a Civil Rights activist minister, is sent to a predominately African American high school feeling charged by his parents to carry out the family’s commitment to the “community” and school integration. Here, he is dropped into a world where gang warfare, drug abuse, and violence are rampant. Simon’s journey for survival brings him into conflict with a Cobra Stone gangbanger, takes him through a failed student boycott organized by community leaders, and also through numerous race riots. Along his way, he meets friends and mentors: Clyde, a former gangbanger turned black political militant; Louis, a brilliant, self-destructive boy; Juan, who perilously chooses to belong to a white gang, Corps, instead of the more powerful Latin Kings; Clark, an intimidating racist police officer who vies for Simon’s allegiance in return for protection at school; and John, a communist biology teacher who educates Simon as much about politics as about science. Throughout the story, Simon’s love for Dia goes from an awkward crush to maturity. Hey, Liberal! exposes an out-of-touch education system and the universality of racial violence amidst a nation moving, inch by hard-fought inch, toward a more culturally diverse and inclusive future.