family, fantasy, history, poetry, memory
This new batch of books is a mix of the real and the imagined, with the real told in both history and memoir, and a fictionalized story tied to the present day.
A Provincetown author has written a family history related to mental illness and physical challenges, with excerpts to read next month as part of an art exhibit on related topics. Past traumas also come into play in two memories, one also linked to poetry.
A writer from Marstons Mills offers pure fantasy, set in a distant land with wars and other troubles of its own. And the non-fiction selection looks back at the story with a different perspective: the era of the Founding Fathers from a female perspective. A few choices to consider for your next local read:
“What We Give, What We Take,” by Randy Triant (2022, She Writes Press)
Triant’s third novel, a year-round resident of Provincetown, is a story of second chances and overcoming dysfunctional family circumstances that unfold over decades. As a woman and her son try to overcome bad decisions and escape their past, both are surrounded by an unusual cast of characters, including in Provincetown, where son Dickie lives with a dying man. AIDS. Triant’s previous novels are ‘The Treehouse’ and ‘A New Life’, and she has published several short fiction and non-fiction films, including two anthologies of writing on HIV/AIDS.
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Triant’s newly released novel is linked to a seven-artist exhibition called “What We Give” at The Commons (46 Bradford St., Provincetown) which explores the work of and about people living with physical challenges (including HIV/AIDS) or mental and how they continue to give when so much is taken away from them. During the opening of the exhibition from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 7, Triant will give a short reading of his novel and a question-and-answer session as well as an artist talk.
“The Women of Poor Richard: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father,” by Nancy Rubin Stuart (2022, Beacon Press)
Ben Franklin is one of the most well-known figures of the Revolutionary War, but what about Deborah Read Franklin? Stuart, award-winning author and journalist and executive director of the Cape Cod Writers Center, looks behind male-dominated history to explore the “long neglected voices” of women who, as she puts it, “loved, nurtured and championed” the scientist and American politician. Read was Franklin’s common-law wife and partner for 44 years and raised their children while fighting angry mobs at gunpoint. Partly by correspondence, Rubin Stuart explores life of Read and the lives of other women involved with Franklin, including widowed London landlady Margaret Stevenson and French musician Madame Brillon.Rubin Stuart’s eight non-fiction books focus on women and social history, including including “Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women Who Married Radical Men”.
“Lewis II: The Northern Campaign”, by Christopher R. Lauzon (2022, independently published)
“Lewis II” is Lauzon’s first novel in a new fantasy series set in the mighty Echinian Empire which is under attack on multiple fronts as young General Lewis of House Ishtibar (third in line to the throne) fights for the survival of his nation. Lewis is an inexperienced soldier who is constantly tested as the fighting continues across mountains, deserts and snowy tundra. The fantasy series is a departure for Lauzon, a Cape Town native who has returned to his hometown of Marstons Mills after many travels and is now a father of four and a local mechanic. He has already published a non-fiction short story and three collections of poetry: “Racquets & Rocks”, “For the Girl Named After Scarlett O’Hara” and “Big Empty”.
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“Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room”, by Cynthia Bargar (2022, Lily Poetry Review Books)
This is a new collection of work by Provincetown poet, Cynthia Bargar, which is described as both a ghost story and a memoir in poetry. She includes documents and photographs to remember the story of her aunt’s death and her own history of mental illness and hospitalization, including the failures of culture, institutions and medicine. Although this is Bargar’s first collection of poetry, her poems have been published online and in print in several journals as well as in last year’s “Our Provincetown: Intimate Portraits by Barbara E. Cohen.”
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“Coming Alive: Memoir”, by Anne Ierardi (2022, Shanti Arts LLC)
Ierardi, author, artist and Yarmouth Harbor Minister, says she wanted to share her own story in this memoir in an effort to “help others who may face obstacles or suffer loss that robs them of hope to be true to themselves.… Every journey is different, but each person has a special mission to become whole and live life to the full. Ierardi’s story involves the people and places that have affected his life; experiencing the early days of gay, feminist, and religious liberation; dealing with cultural, gender, and sexual orientation bias; finding her voice as an artist; and experiencing loss, including in her extended Italian family.
Are you a Cape Cod author with a new book? Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at [email protected] to be considered for future book columns.