Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meg Mullins to Read Friday Night

We hope you can join us tomorrow night to hear Meg Mullins read from her recently published second novel, Dear Strangers. The novel tells the story of the Finley family in 1982, awaiting the arrival of the baby boy they're due to adopt. Oliver, just seven, is eager for another playmate to join him and his sister, Mary, in their idyll of swimming pools, climbing trees, and playing tag. But the father dies suddenly and everything changes. Mrs. Finley, newly widowed, decides she cannot proceed with the adoption alone.

Twenty-one years later, Oliver believes he has finally found the brother his family was meant to adopt. Along the way, he also finds Miranda, an eccentric, charming photographer whose subjects are consenting strangers in their own homes after dark. Oliver and Miranda's love story collides with catastrophe when their worlds intersect in ways they could never have predicted.

A luminous, moving portrait of grief and atone­ment, romance and longing, Dear Strangers unearths the possibilities of hope and renewal in the unexpected bonds forged with family and strangers alike.

As she was writing this book, Mullins lost both her father and her brother. "Personally, I was sorting through a lot of issues of family and loss and obviously it seeped into the book. Writing is a job in which it's particularly unrealistic to leave your personal life behind."

Mullins lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. Dear Strangers is her second novel. Her first novel, The Rug Merchant, was based on a story that appeared in The Best American Stories 2002. It tells the story of the unlikely romance between an Iranian immigrant and an American college student in New York City, after a chance encounter at JFK airport.

Chance meetings play a big role in both of these novels. Mullins says, "I am a big believer in chance. I love and fear the possibilities of chance. This globe is full of people who might be unknown to us now, but in an hour or a month or a year, may turn out to be the person who changes our life forever."

One of the things she learned from Jonathan Franzen while studying at Columbia was the "mundane yet profound" notion that "if you're not having any fun writing it, nobody's going to have any fun reading it."

Please join us Friday night at 7 to hear Meg Mullins read from and talk about her new novel, Dear Strangers.

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