Madison Smartt Bell reads from and discusses his newest novel Behind the Moon. He will be in conversation with Philly's own Andrew Ervin (Bit by Bit, Burning Down George Orwell's House).
Madison Smartt Bell is a critically acclaimed writer of more than a dozen novels and story collections, as well as numerous essays and reviews for publications such as Harper’s and the New York Times Book Review. His books have been finalists for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, among other honors. Bell has also taught at distinguished creative writing programs including the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Johns Hopkins, and Goucher College. His work is notable for its sweeping historical and philosophical scope matched with a remarkable sensitivity to the individual voices of characters on the margins of society.
About Behind the Moon:
When Julie skips school and sets off with her best friend and some local boys for a camping trip in the desert, she finds herself the target of unwanted, drug-fueled sexual attention. Running away in fear, she takes a dangerous fall down the shaft of a vast underground cave, and it takes two days for her to be rescued. Lying unconscious in her hospital bed, Julie hovers between life and death as she travels in a seductive parallel universe inspired by remarkable cave paintings left behind by prehistoric humans.
Marko, her attacker, tries to cover his tracks, menacing those who know what happened in the desert that night. Jamal, the youngest son in a family of Iraqi refugees living in Julie’s small town, is one of his prime targets. He defies Marko, keeping him away from Julie’s bedside and refusing to fall prey to his threats of violence.
Meanwhile, Marissa, who gave Julie up for adoption fifteen years earlier when she became pregnant as an adolescent, is following an instinct that leads her back to the daughter she once abandoned. With the aid of Jamal and a local Native American hitman/shaman, she attempts to draw Julie back to consciousness.
"Madison Smartt Bell writes with the urgency of someone who just received a dire prognosis. And Behind the Moon will remind you that you are alive."--Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Here I Am