Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa
Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa
Can’t go home again: Aug. 23 is also publication day for Frances Mayes’ “A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home” (Crown Publishing, $27). A native of Fitzgerald, Mayes is the author of the 1997 bestselling book “Under the Tuscan Sun,” which was made into a film with Diane Lane. Her new book is a collection of essays about the various homes she’s lived in, from one side of the country to the other and in Italy, where she still has that Tuscan home.
In “The House on South Lee Street,” Mayes waxes nostalgic about her family’s home place in Fitzgerald after her sister calls to tell her it’s on the market. She recalls with fondness the home’s wrap-around porch, six fireplaces and “graceful curving staircase.”
The sister admits that it’s “the last house in the United States I’d want to buy,” because although the exterior has been restored to perfection, there once had been a devastating fire and the interior remained untouched. “The baby grand, charred, leaned under the sagging staircase; the walls were black, and the furniture sticks of glassy ash.”
The house eventually sells and is restored. Nevertheless, “the owners perhaps will not know everything of its burned history,” Mayes writes, “but the disappearing ink of the past always will become visible.”
Pre-game event: As the folks at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta prepare to announce the lineup for the annual book festival in November, they’ve given us a taste of the caliber of authors we can expect by announcing its pre-festival lineup.
The series kicks off Sept. 15 with Iuliia Mendel, the Ukrainian journalist who was the press secretary for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Her book, “The Fight of Our Lives,” chronicles Zelenskyy’s rise from comedian to president of Ukraine. She will be in conversation with Bill Nigut, executive producer of “Political Rewind” for GPB.
On Sept. 21, New York Times food writer and author of “Dinner in French” Melissa Clark will talk about one-pot/one-pan dinners with Ligaya Figueras, food editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Next up on Oct. 12 are cowriters Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan talking about their novel “Mad Honey.” It’s about a mother trying to determine if the suspicions surrounding her teenage son’s role in the death of his girlfriend are founded.
The last event is Oct. 26 with Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, discussing his new novel “Swann’s War,” about a series of murders in a small New England fishing village during World War II and the woman trying to solve them.
For details and to purchase tickets, go to www.atlantajcc.org.
Suzanne Van Atten is a book critic and contributing editor to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Contact her a email@example.com, and follow her on Twitter at @svanatten.