Four author events coming to New Dominion in September

Four more events with author appearances, readings, and book-signings at New Dominion Bookshop

Wednesday, September 23 at 12:15 PM

Michael Rosen, What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse

Thursday, September 24 at 5:00 PM

Edward R. Ford, Five Houses, Ten Details

Friday, September 25 at 12:15 PM

Josh Weil, The New Valley

Cliff Garstang, In an Uncharted Country

Tuesday, September 29 at 5:30 PM

The Welch Family, The Kids Are All Right

September 23 (Wednesday) at 12:15 PM

Michael Rosen, What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey
Between the Projects and the Penthouse

What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse is about Michael Rosen’s family’s improvised journey across the divide of race, class, and economic opportunity in the Lower East Side of New York. It’s an unflinching and compelling first-hand account of how his family—himself, an investor and real estate developer, and his doctor wife and their two kids, living in a luxury penthouse on Tompkins Square Park—evolved to include five black and Latino boys from the neighborhood.

Adults agonize about crossing boundaries of ethnicity and class. Seven-year-olds do not, especially when there’s a baseball game to join. When Ripton Rosen, Michael and his wife Leslie’s adopted son, joined a pick-up game in 1998 with kids from the nearby projects, and then invited the kids home to play Nintendo and have snacks, he wasn’t interested in a compelling social experiment or family drama. He was just doing what kids do—playing with other kids. But as a group of the boys from the projects grew close to the Rosen family, an extraordinary chronicle of improvisation and experimentation began for all concerned. Eventually five of them began to refer to Michael and Leslie Rosen as Mom and Dad, and the couple took on much of the emotional and many of the practical responsibilities of parenting teenage boys through school, into work and, hilariously, out of their local world and into the history and culture of America from colonial Williamsburg to Miami.

Michael Rosen has written the story of his “random family.” He’s a central participant but also a wonderful listener to the conversations of his newly compiled family. He’s honest, unsparing, and passionate—a flawed but utterly engaged parent. He and Leslie do not theorize about the rights and wrongs of what they have by accident taken on; they—like any devoted parents—keep moving forward. They encounter all the bumps and switchbacks on the road of inner-city adolescence, with kids whose needs are at first unguessable and whose histories all contain a measure of tragedy.

An article written by Corey Kilgannon for the New York Times on Thanksgiving Day 2006 (nytimes.com) introduced the Rosen family to New York. In What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse , Rosen takes us deeper into the story and provides an incredibly rich narrative bound to spark lively debates and discussions nationwide about class, race, family, education and what it takes to open opportunities for our peers and neighbors.

Michael Rosen, a community organizer, is a former real estate developer and investor, former CEO of a Wall Street firm, former CEO of a publicly traded company destroyed on September 11, 2001, and a former assistant professor at New York University. He lives in New York, and with his wife, Leslie Gruss, and the ”the Rosen family extended.”

September 24 (Thursday) at 5:00 PM

Edward R. Ford, Five Houses, Ten Details

Five Houses, Ten Details—Edward Ford’s forty years of practicing and teaching architecture have focused on one area: the architectural detail. Yet, despite two hugely influential books (The Details of Modern Architecture, volumes 1 and 2), numerous articles, and lectures given from Vancouver to Vienna, there are two questions Ford has, remarkably, never answered: “What is a detail?” and more importantly, “What is a good detail?” Ford is an architect as well as a writer, so it is not surprising that rather than answering these questions in a third book, he spent six years on the design and construction of a house. Building it was not an exercise in the application of ideas about detail; it was, rather, a mechanism for answering those two simple questions.

Five Houses, Ten Details presents five designs—all by Ford, all for himself, all for the same site—only one of which was built. Each unbuilt design evolved or was abandoned for a variety of reasons. Many simply cost too much; others were based on presumptions that proved inaccurate or unproductive. All, to some degree, are present in the final design. Each of the five designs explores a different aspect of architectural detail: how it acts to connect to or disconnect from a site; how it is expressive of material; how it acts to reveal structure; how it articulates the act of construction; and how it can be inconsistent, in a beneficial way, with the remainder of the building. Detail for Ford is not an accessory to architecture but its essence. Each design in Five Houses, Ten Details explores and articulates one aspect—site, structure, material, joinery, or furniture—at the expense of the others. Each architectural exploration leads to a larger understanding of construction and a larger understanding of how details communicate. Woven throughout with historical references and specific examples of his design process, Five Houses, Ten Details is an accessible and at times personal account of one man’s exploration of architectural detail.

Edward R. Ford is the author of numerous books on architecture. He is a practicing architect in Charlottesville, Virginia, and associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

September 25 (Friday) at 12:15 PM

Josh Weil, The New Valley

Cliff Garstang, In an Uncharted Country

Josh Weil, The New Valley

The three linked novellas that comprise Fulbright-winner Josh Weil’s debut bring us into America’s remote and often unforgiving backcountry, and delicately open up the private worlds of three very different men as they confront love, loss, and their own personal demons.

Set in the hardscrabble hill country between West Virginia and Virginia, The New Valley is populated by characters striving to forge new lives in the absence of those they have loved. Told in three varied and distinct voices—from a soft-spoken middle-aged landscaper and beef farmer struggling to hold himself together after his dad’s suicide; to a health-obsessed single father desperate to control his reckless, overweight daughter; to a mildly retarded man who falls in love with a married woman intent on using him in a scheme that will wound them both—each novella is a vivid, stand-alone examination of uniquely romantic relationships. As the men struggle against grief, solitude, and obsession, their desperation slowly leads them all to commit acts that will bring both ruin and salvation.

Written with a deeply American tone and in empathetic, meticulously crafted prose, The New Valley is a tender exploration of resilience, isolation, and the deep, consuming ache for human connection.

Josh Weil was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of rural Virginia, to which he returned to write the novellas in his first book, The New Valley (Grove, 2009).

His short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Granta, New England Review, American Short Fiction, Narrative and other journals. He has been a regular contributor to The New York Times and written for Poets & Writers, Guernica, Orion and Nylon Magazine. Since earning his MFA from Columbia University, he has received a Fulbright Grant, fellowships and scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Dana Award in Portfolio. As the 2009-2010 Tickner Writing Fellow, he will be the writer-in-residence at Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland.

He currently divides his time between New York City and a cabin in southwestern Virginia, where he is at work on a novel.

Cliff Garstang, In an Uncharted Country

The award-winning stories that make up the linked collection In An Uncharted Country showcase ordinary men and women in and around Rugglesville, Virginia, as they struggle to find places and identities in their families and the community. They experience natural disasters, a sun-worshipping cult, Vietnam flashbacks, kidnapping, addiction, and loss. The book’s opening story, “Flood, 1978,” follows Hank, who comes to understand his father’s deep sense of grief over the death of his wife. Later, in “Hand-painted Angel,” Hank’s sons see the family spinning apart as their father ages and family secrets are disclosed. In “The Clattering of Bones,” Walt mourns the collapse of his marriage after the loss of a child, but in the collection’s title story he recognizes his emotional need for family. The concluding story, “Red Peony,” unifies the collection, as many of the characters from other stories come together for a tumultuous 4th of July Celebration.

Cliff Garstang received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Cream City Review, The Baltimore Review, and elsewhere and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He won the 2006 Confluence Fiction Prize and the 2007 GSU Review Fiction Prize, and has had scholarships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Indiana University Writers’ Conference, as well as residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. He currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

September 29 (Tuesday) at 5:30 PM

The Welch Family (Diana, Liz, Amanda, and Dan), The Kids Are All Right

“Perfect is boring.”

Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student—together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings—Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight—were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ‘80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her—or let her go.

Told in the alternating voices of the four siblings, their poignant, harrowing story of unbreakable bonds unfolds with ferocious emotion. Despite the Welch children’s wrenching loss and subsequent separation, they retained the resilience and humor that both their mother and father endowed them with—growing up as lost souls, taking disastrous turns along the way, but eventually coming out right side up. The kids are not only all right; they’re back together.

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One Response

  1. Found your blog on Ask and was so glad i did. That was a warming read. I have a quick question.Is it alright if i send you an email???…

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