On the Road, as promised:
Thursday evening, the debut reading from American Taliban took place at Newtonville Books, in a charming grotto-like space, actually the ground floor of an old Masonic lodge. Very cool: Intimate, pretty, and rather appropriate for a novel about a spiritual, sometime ecstatic journey. To get there, I walked through to the back of this lovely community bookstore, up the narrow steps, through the (by now infamous?) corridor of autographs—all the writers who’ve read here before me.
I read the first pages of American Taliban, which introduces John Jude Parish, the protagonist, and his mother, Barbara, who serves as a foil to his deepening interest in religion. Had to pause to sing/chant (me sing?) Bob Marley’s oiyoiyoi and the Beatles Love, Love… Ouch. A vigorous q&a followed, showing that my audience got the thematic setup, the context of American individuality and its pursuit. Eugenio, a “real” surfer in the audience, declared himself impressed (flattering me?) with my knowledge of the word overheads, and promised to read the book and point out surfer lingo errors. I might see him again in Providence, RI, where he lives and surfs, and where I will be at the end of the month, visiting Brown for a reading, q&a and signing.
After which, Mary Clark, the owner, handed me a fat black marker with which to leave my autograph. I found just enough space on the left lintel of the grotto’s entrance, and writing sideways, thanked Newtonville Books for allowing for the side stance–surfer/skater lingo, meaning an alternate point of view on the world. And then drinks—a delicious glass of cold Sauvignon for me, courtesy of the Clarks (thx, Jaime). And fries and things. A fun night all around.
Enroute back to Springfield, the GPS misled us, and we ended up in Wellesley before my iphone’s map app put us on the right track.
Fashion (as promised): Red with tiny white polka dots blouse, jbrand skinnies, with my favorite lace-up F&B boots, a look my friend Patricia dubbed French girl.
I will post the link to the store’s very fun author questionnaire soon.