Mary Beth Keane at New Dominion Thursday, May 7

At New Dominion Bookshop:

Thursday, May 7 at 5:30 PM

A reading and book-signing by

Mary Beth Keane

who will discuss her novel

The Walking People

Ms. Keane will be introduced by Eleanor Henderson.

Based in part on her mother’s stories of Ireland and her father’s stories about working as a “sandhog” in the water tunnels of New York City, The Walking People is Mary Beth Keane’s moving, epic paean to memory and family.

The Walking People introduces us to Greta Cahill, a young girl from a rural village in the west of Ireland. Greta is slow, near-sighted, and labeled a “soft-headed goose” by her mother. Unexpectedly, she finds herself on a ship bound for New York, along with her sister Johanna and a “traveller” boy named Michael Ward—and finds that, in America, she can fall in love, raise her own family, and earn a living. Her decision to spare her children knowledge of darkness in her past forces Greta to keep her new life separate from the life she once loved in Ireland. But, fifty years later, she realizes that it is still possible to lose everything when her children—with the best of intentions—conspire to unite the worlds she’s so carefully kept apart for decades.

Simultaneously hopeful and wistful, tragic and beautiful, The Walking People is a debut of remarkable range and power.

“Keane explores the situation of ‘new’ immigrants with a Balzacian eye for detail. Many worlds come clear to us: the underworld of the ‘sandhogs,’ the countryside of the west of Ireland, the camps of the travellers, the counters of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. This is an astonishing debut, and it marks the appearance of a truly major writer.”

—Mary Gordon

The Walking People is an irresistible blend of narrative and syntactic authenticity.”

—Billy Collins, United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and earned an MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She was a winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Prize in 2004 and was a 2005 Pushcart Prize nominee. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son.

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