Thursday, September 20, 7:00PM
Authors Heather Abel and Bethany Ball present their latest novels at Print!
Heather Abel, THE OPTIMISTIC DECADE: This entertaining and assured debut novel about a utopian summer camp and its charismatic leader asks smart questions about good intentions gone terribly wrong. Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, THE OPTIMISTIC DECADE takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters and is a sweeping novel about idealism, love, class, and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it. There is Caleb Silver, the beloved founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There are the ranchers, Don and his son, Donnie, who gave up their land to Caleb and who now want it back. There is Rebecca Silver, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of both Llamalo and new love; and there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. Heather Abel’s novel is a brilliant exploration of the bloom and fade of idealism and how it forever changes one’s life.
Bethany Ball, WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SOLOMONS: Short, elegant, sexy, and provocative, Bethany Ball’s debut HAT TO DO ABOUT THE SOLOMONS weaves contemporary Jewish history through a distinctly modern, propulsive, and savvy tale of family life. Meet Marc Solomon, an Israeli ex-navy commando now living in L.A., who is falsely accused of money laundering through his asset management firm. As the Solomons’ Santa Monica home is raided, Marc’s American wife, Carolyn—concealing her own dark past—makes hopeless attempts to hold their family of five together. But news of the scandal makes its way from America to the rest of the Solomon clan on the kibbutz in the Jordan River Valley. There we encounter various members of the family and the community—from Marc’s self-absorbed movie actress sister, Shira, and her forgotten son, Joseph; to his rich and powerful construction magnate father, Yakov; to his former star-crossed love, Maya; and his brother-in-law, Guy Gever, a local ranger turned “artist.” As the secrets and rumors of the kibbutz are revealed through various memories and tales, we witness the things that keep the Solomons together and those that tear them apart. Reminiscent of Nathan Englander’s FOR THE RELIEF OF UNBEARABLE URGES and Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SOLOMONS is an exhilarating first book from a bright new star in fiction.