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University of Iowa News Release

 

Oct. 30, 2008

Amy Bloom will read from 'Away' for 'Live from Prairie Lights' Nov. 13

Amy Bloom will read from her popular novel "Away," now available in paperback, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Web site http://writinguniversity.uiowa.edu.

The free event will be recorded for broadcast on Iowa Public Radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910 in Iowa City and WOI-AM 640 in Ames.

A starred review in Publishers Weekly summarized the plot: "Life is no party for Lillian Leyb, the 22-year-old Jewish immigrant protagonist of Bloom's outstanding fifth novel: Her husband and parents were killed in a Russian pogrom, and the same violent episode separated her from her three-year-old daughter, Sophie.

"Arriving in New York in 1924, Lillian dreams of Sophie, and after five weeks in America, barely speaking English, she outmaneuvers a line of applicants for a seamstress job at the Goldfadn Yiddish Theatre, where she becomes the mistress of both handsome lead actor Meyer Burstein and his very connected father, Reuben. Her only friend in New York, tailor/actor/playwright Yaakov Shimmelman, gives her a thesaurus and coaches her on American culture.

"In a last, loving, gesture, Yaakov secures Lillian passage out of New York to begin her quest to find Sophie. The journey -- through Chicago by train, into Seattle's African-American underworld and across the Alaskan wilderness -- elevates Bloom's novel from familiar immigrant chronicle to sweeping saga of endurance and rebirth."

Ron Charles wrote in the Washington Post: "Amy Bloom knows the urgency of love. As a practicing psychotherapist, she must have heard that urgency in her patients' stories, and in 1993 when she broke onto the literary scene with' Come To Me,' we heard it in hers. She has never strayed from that theme. Four years later, she published 'Love Invents Us' and followed that with another collection in 2000, 'A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You.'

"A finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Bloom writes with extraordinary care about people caught in emotional and physical crosswinds: desires they can't satisfy, illnesses they can't survive, and -- always -- love that exceeds the boundaries of this world. It's the kind of humid, overwrought territory where you'd expect to find pathos and melodrama growing like mold, but none of that can survive the blazing light of her wisdom and humor."

Bloom now teaches creative writing at Yale University.

For UI arts information and calendar updates visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Weissmiller, Prairie Lights, jan-prairielights.com, 319-337-2681; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu