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Contemporary Classics Book Discussion with Marsha Bansavage – Monday, March 4 at 7:00pm

Contemporary Classics with Marsha Bansavage takes place virtually usually on the first Monday of the month.
Multiple copies of the selected book are available please call the library at 860-434-1684 to reserve a copy.

Monday, February 5
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Image credit: Syndetics

“Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. Relayed in his own unsparing voice, Demon braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities. Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story.”
(Syndetics)

Monday, March 4
The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela
Image credit: Syndetics

“When his father falls ill, Andraes, a professor of public health, returns to his suburban hometown to tend to his father’s recovery. Reevaluating his rocky marriage in the wake of his husband’s infidelity and with little else to do, he decides to attend his twenty-year high school reunion, where he runs into the long-lost characters of his youth. Jeremy, his first love, is now married with two children after having been incarcerated and recovering from addiction. Paul, who Andraes has long suspected of having killed a man in a homophobic attack, is now an Evangelical minister and father of five. And Simone, Andraes’s best friend, is in a psychiatric institution following a diagnosis of schizophrenia. During this short stay, Andraes confronts these relationships, the death of his brother, and the many sacrifices his parents made to offer him a better life. A novel about the essential nature of community in maintaining one’s own health, The Town of Babylon is an intimate portrait of queer, racial, and class identity, a call to reevaluate the ties of societal bonds and the systems in which they are forged”
(Syndetics)

Monday, April 1
The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
Image credit: Syndetics

“The automobile industry has abandoned Vacca Vale, Indiana, leaving the residents behind, too. In a run-down apartment building on the edge of town, commonly known as the Rabbit Hutch, a number of people now reside quietly, looking for ways to live in a dying city. Apartment C2 is lonely and detached. C6 is aging and stuck. C8 harbors an extraordinary fear. But C4 is of particular interest. Here live four teenagers who have recently aged out of the state foster-care system: three boys and one girl, Blandine, who The Rabbit Hutch centers around. Hauntingly beautiful and unnervingly bright, Blandine is plagued by the structures, people, and places that not only failed her but actively harmed her. Now all Blandine wants is an escape, a true bodily escape like the mystics describe in the books she reads. Set across one week and culminating in a shocking act of violence, The Rabbit Hutch chronicles a town on the brink, desperate for rebirth. How far will its residents–especially Blandine–go to achieve it? Does one person’s gain always come at another’s expense?”
(Syndetics)

Monday, May 6
Stay True by Hua Hsu
Image credit: Syndetics

“In the eyes of 18-year-old Hua Hsu, the problem with Ken-with his passion for Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity-is that he is exactly like everyone else. Ken, whose Japanese American family has been in the United States for generations, is mainstream; for Hua, a first-generation Taiwanese American who has a ‘zine and haunts Bay Area record shops, Ken represents all that he defines himself in opposition to. The only thing Hua and Ken have in common is that, however they engage with it, American culture doesn’t seem to have a place for either of them. But despite his first impressions, Hua and Ken become best friends, a friendship built of late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the textbook successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet. Determined to hold on to all that was left of his best friend-his memories-Hua turned to writing.”
(Syndetics)

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