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Spencertown Academy Festival of Books with Daphne Kalotay
September 3, 2023 @ 1:30 pm–2:30 pm
Visit the Spencertown Academy Festival of Books and hear from bestselling author Daphne Kalotay with Jane Roper, author of Society of Shame.
Everyday people may appear to populate this vibrant collection, winner of the 2021 Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, but Kalotay’s characters are anything but ordinary. In her deft hands, they reveal themselves in all dimensions, despite the narrow confines of the short story. They include a hardheaded realist, a grieving father, a frightened woman, lovers and ex-lovers, a mature teen, a resolute nonagenarian and more. Their moving stories consider issues of identity, history, memory and a shared search for meaning. “In a world filled with loss,” said the New York Times, “this is a collection that offers affirmation and solace.”
The Society of Shame
Roper’s satiric novel captures today’s moment in time: a philandering politician, a wife shunned then celebrated, a pubescent daughter caught in the maelstrom, an internet-fueled image campaign, plus a pinch of misogyny. Local TV catches Senate hopeful Bill Held in his underwear fleeing a house fire, his paramour collapsed nearby. Enter wife Kathleen, home early from a trip; the camera reveals a menstrual stain on the back of her pants. The shame! Can’t a woman control her body and the narrative? Not when social media takes over with tweets and hashtags. The comedy of manners sees Kathleen swept along by a campaign she first abhors, then adores, and finally wrests control of. Kirkus Reviews characterized the novel as “the perfect balance of humor, heartbreak, and understanding.”