Wendy Walker’s first suspense novel, All Is Not Forgotten, is set in the small town of Fairview, CT, one of those irresistible locations for writers to explore because it seems perfect but really isn’t. No one better to delve into this than an author who is a suburban dweller with a growing family herself, but who also happens to be a family-law attorney, likely to know more than many of us about some of the real-life complications simmering underneath the real or imagined American suburban dream. As William Landay (Defending Jacob), another attorney-turned-suspense-author who read for South End Writes in 2014 noted, Walker’s novel displays a polished writing style in a novel that blends suspense and rich family drama, so chances are good you will have an enjoyable few hours with this psychological thriller, wondering whodunnit and why.
The plot revolves around a family with secrets and unresolved tensions that become sharply articulated and inflamed when a crisis occurs, in this case, an attack on the teenage daughter during one of those parties with too much liquor, testosterone and drugs. She is given a drug to alleviate the trauma, but is left with the anger and despair over the assault that was not addressed by the memory-altering drug, and of which she can’t remember the facts. Which also prevents the attacker from being found. As the plot twists and turns to an unexpected conclusion, the parents are divided over what matters most, revenge, justice or…staying in tune with country club mores. Walker published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and is currently writing her second thriller. She will be introduced by her colleague an FOSEL advisory-board member, Mari Passananti.
The South End Writes is sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library. All the events are free. Books by the speakers will be available for borrowing, sale and signing by the author. The branch is fully handicapped accessible. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited. Below are listed upcoming authors, whose bios will be more detailed as the dates of the talks approach.
COMING UP NEXT AT THE SOUTH END WRITES:
Longtime South End resident and veteran foreign-policy journalist Stephen Kinzer has been hosted by the South End Writes series twice before, once to discuss his acclaimed book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War and, last year, to talk about his weeks-long trip through Iran, just before the controversial international nuclear agreement with the ayatollahs was approved. This time, the former New York Times bureau chief and regular Boston Globe contributor’s new book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire, reframes the current question about America’s role abroad from the perspective of the same debate that raged here in Boston at the end of the 19th-century, whether to be an imperialist nation or take care of our own problems first. Kinzer’s 1/22 world affairs column in the Boston Globe will give you a fine introduction to his talk. He will be introduced by his long-time friend and admirer, WBUR’s OpenSource radio host Christopher Lydon. Tuesday, March 14
Gish Jen, the acclaimed author four novels, a collection of short stories and a volume of lectures describing the Chinese-American immigrant experience, will talk about her second book of non-fiction, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap. It looks at the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about self and society and, according to her Wikipedia entry, how this “shapes everything from our ideas about copying and talking in class to the difference between Apple and Alibaba.” Her 2013 non-fiction book, Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self, based on the Massey Lectures Jen delivered at Harvard in 2012, also delves into East-West differences, in particular how they affect art and literature. The novels Typical American, Who Is Irish?, The Love Wife and Mona in the Promised Land were widely praised for the ir often hilarious but also profound and warm descriptions of Chinese-American families adjusting to suburban life, and the racial and religious divides they navigate. A contributor to The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, Jen’s work has been included in The Best American Short Stories of 1988, 1995 and 2013, as well as The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award and an International IMPAC Dublin Book Award, Jen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards. In 2003, an American Academy of Arts and Letters jury comprised of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, Don DeLillo, and Joyce Carol Oates granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award. Tuesday, March 28
New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us, Jenna Blum (with her novella, The Lucky One, part of Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, a collection of tales by well-known women writers, all taking place on the same day in Manhattan’s iconic gateway), Tuesday, April 4
The acclaimed sociologist Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, another MacArthur Genius Fellow gracing the South End library, who will be the first African American woman to hold an endowed chair in her name at Harvard University upon her retirement (with her recent Growing Each Other Up: When Our Children Become Our Teachers) Tuesday, April 18
The iconic Mel King, former state legislator, school board member, community organizer, writer, poet, and the holder of perhaps the largest memory bank of South End’s turbulent history. Raised in the New York streets part of the South End by immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados in the 1930s. Former adjunct professor in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and author of Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development and collections of poetry, and founder of the South End’s Technology Center at Tent City. Tuesday, May 23
Stephanie Schorow, journalist, journalism teacher and author of many popular books about Boston’s amazing history, including The Crime of the Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston and The Cocoanut Grove Fire. Tuesday, June 13