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New Dominion Bookshop to host sneak preview of Lisa Russ Spaar’s debut novel

Lisa Russ Spaar
Lisa Russ Spaar. Photo courtesy New Dominion Bookshop.

New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville will host a book reading and signing with author and UVA professor Lisa Russ Spaar on Saturday, April 9, from 4-5 p.m.

Spaar will be giving a sneak preview reading of her debut novel, Paradise Close, which will be released from Persea later this spring. This event will be free to attend and open to the public. The bookshop recommends arriving early for the best seating.

In 1971, orphan Marlise Schade—14, anorectic, and evicted from the psychiatric hospital her trust fund can no longer support—finds herself alone in an ancestral home during a blizzard. Marlise’s struggles to survive there become the focal point for a host of imperiled figures, living and dead, whose stories intersect with hers and with forces roiling the U.S. in the ’70s.

Decades later, on the brink of Trump’s America, sixty-something Tee Handel is shaken by an inexplicable visitation. For years he’s nursed a deep hurt over his breakup with a captivating artist, spending his days and nights in solitude tinkering with antique clocks. What’s become of the artist, and how Tee reacts to his mysterious guest, testifies to the risk and inexorability of change.

These two seemingly unrelated tales entwine to show how the wages of the past are always with us, as are the dangerous and redemptive consequences of secrets confided and withheld.

Spaar is the author and editor of over ten books, most recently Orexia: Poems (2017), More Truly & More Strange: 100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems (2020), and Madrigalia: New & Selected Poems (2021). A novel, Paradise Close, will appear in April 2022. Her honors include a Rona Jaffe Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Library of Virginia Prize for Poetry, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and an NEH Distinguished Professorship. Her “Second Acts” column on second books of poetry is a regular feature at the Los Angeles Review of Books, and her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and elsewhere.

She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia.


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