The Cliff Dwellers
200 S Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
About the Event: Come listen to Rosellen Brown’s interview with fellow Chicago-based author D.M. Pirrone at Cliff Dwellers. Hosted by Society of Midland Authors and Allium Press of Chicago, free and open to the public.
About the Author: Rosellen Brown is the author of the novels Civil Wars, Half a Heart, Tender Mercies, Before and After, and six other books. Her stories have appeared frequently in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories and Best Short Stories of the Century. She now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives in Mr. Obama’s neighborhood, overlooking Lake Michigan.
PRAISE FOR THE LAKE ON FIRE:
"Often praised for her prose, in her long-awaited sixth novel Brown (Half a Heart, 2000, etc.) sings as euphoniously as ever, whether she is writing about the filth and stench of the city, about the magnificence of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, or about love. . . . A transporting drama of class and love, steeped in period feeling, written with beauty and conviction."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"In her first historical novel, an exquisite, suspenseful, and character-driven tale of two cities, poet and deeply inquisitive fiction writer Brown (Before and After, 1992; Half a Heart, 2000) takes measure of the divide between rich and poor during Chicago’s resplendent World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Narrating from Chaya's and Asher’s divergent perspectives, Brown describes with sensuous intensity the lavish lives of the elite and the desperation of the unemployed, the miasmas of sweatshops and the radiant fair, which decays into a mere facade. . . . In an astute and enrapturing variation on Edith Wharton’s foundational Gilded Age novel, The House of Mirth (1905), and, in accord with Dickens, Dreiser, and Doctorow, Brown imaginatively, compassionately, and spellbindingly dramatizes timeless questions of survival and social conscience."
—Booklist, starred review
"In Brown’s stellar, evocative novel, Jewish siblings Chaya and Asher Shaderowsky move with their family to America from Ukraine to work on a Wisconsin collective farm. . . .[Brown] transports the reader to Gilded Age Chicago and recreates the Jewish immigrant experience as incisively as Henry Roth in Call It Sleep."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"I can’t remember yesterday, but when it comes to books that broke the ice around my heart (to paraphrase Kafka), I remember. Knopf editor Carole Baron and I were having lunch, talking books, when Rosellen Brown’s 1992 novel, Before and After, came into the conversation. We had both loved it, and we both wondered if it would hold up. Next thing I know, there’s a hardcover edition in my mailbox. . . . And yes, it does hold up, which is why I was excited by the news that, in October, Sarabande Books is publishing The Lake on Fire, Brown’s first novel in 18 years."
—Louisa Ermelino, Publishers Weekly, “Open Book: Comeback Novel Spotlights the Haves and Have Nots"
"Rosellen Brown knows things. . . .Rosellen Brown has a great ear, a great eye, a great love of the painful twists and turns that happen in a human life and the big twists and turns of American history. . . . The Lake on Fire is about the making of America, the bones on which it has always been built, and the way the wheels turn (even now) and the way they turned then, moving forward, crushing some, advancing others, and within this epic story, the making of a person, Chaya Shaderowsky, rising and falling, failing and flailing and making her painful, blazingly aware way, in our America."
—Amy Bloom, The New York Times Book Review, “American Girl”
". . .The Lake on Fire is a poetic and moving meditation on the choices we make to achieve the lives we imagine."
—Seattle Book Review