Nov 24, 2008

That damn PW!

Their review:

Godmother Carolyn Turgeon. Three Rivers, $13.95 paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-307-40799-3

This retelling of Cinderella follows the oft ignored character of the fairy godmother, who may or may not be a mentally ill New Yorker. Lil, as this godmother is known, is now living in New York City, broke and employed at a bookstore, years after being exiled from the kingdom of fairies for betraying her charge. Condemned to live as an old woman, her wings bound to her back as penance, Lil is overcome by longing for what she has lost, slipping in her recollections of her idyllic past into the harsh present. When she meets Veronica, a young woman perpetually dogged with man problems, Lil sees an opportunity to redeem herself. But as the narrative progresses, cracks in Lil's story (and psyche) emerge. Needless to say, readers expecting magical carriages and glass slippers will be surprised by the novel's morose tone, and though the surprise conclusion doesn't quite work, Turgeon's takes on nostalgia and regret are surprisingly clear-eyed given her narrator's unbalance. (Mar.)

Nov 23, 2008

So I completely love Facebook and having all these old friends popping up every minute and occasionally having old compadres like one WILL WALDRON sending old photos you never knew they took of you, those sneaky bastards, having a cigarette break when you were 20 years old and waiting tables. I did used to love taking me a smoke break.

Nov 21, 2008

So I just got back on Wednesday from a very eventful week and a half in NYC and Philly and one amazing thing was seeing a reading of my friend David Bar Katz's new play Burning, Burning, Burning, Burning as part of LAByrinth Theather Company's Barn Series at the Public Theater. This is the third year in a row I've gone to one of David's new plays in this series and it was VERY AMAZING and starred Eric Bogosian and David was appalled that I only know Eric Bogosian as the captain on LAW AND ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT and even more appalled that I find this deeply impressive as it is in my opinion the best show ever. As APPARENTLY he's some kind of theater actor too. Anyway, unlike the last two times I went, this year it was completely packed and the plays in this series are free and given out on a first come first served basis and this year 100 people were turned away the night my sister and I went! In fact, we only got in since I roodly text messaged David before the play and DEMANDED ENTRANCE (we were stuck in a big line that was never going to move again) since I came all the way from Pennsylvania! And he had the director call the ticket people like two minutes before the show. I like to be a very supportive friend like that. Anyway, David's writing is always ridiculously, insanely hilarious as well as tragic and heartbreaking, at the same time. It's so rare and amazing to be able to do that. Plus he wrote the play in three days, as he is insane.

And THEN, just now, I bought seven tickets to a limited run LAByrinth is doing of David's new play from last year, which I LOVED LOVED LOVED, Philip Roth in Khartoum. It's so great -- hilarious and heartbreaking and clever, just chock full of everything. It's running at the Public Theater from Dec. 4 to Dec. 21 for 10 dolla, and it's almost sold out, so you should buy tickets THIS MINUTE if you want to see it, which you obviously do. David is also writing a blog about the experience of putting on the show and you must read it immediately.

David, by the way, is the father of these extremely evil children. I may look like I'm laughing in this photo, but believe me it was only through tears.

The end.

Nov 20, 2008

Exciting Bookly Things:

Email from Joanne Harris (who wrote Chocolat and many other delectable books) to mah editor:

Dear Heather,
Thank you so much for sending me GODMOTHER, and apologies for not getting back to you sooner. It's a terrific book, sweet, touching and great fun - kind of WICKED meets LA CUCINA. I loved it. My regards to the author. I hope it sells millions.

AND a quote from Alisa Kwitney (who also writes as Alisa Sheckley):

Godmother is earthy, lyrical, sensual and deeply, intelligently romantic. Carolyn Turgeon has a gift for mingling the magical and the mundane. Her earthy, sensual and richly imagined take on the fair folk should appeal to fans of Holly Black.

This in addition to lovely quotes from mah awesome friends Nick Mamatas, Daphne Gottlieb, Jeanine Cummins, and Anton Strout, and I BELIEVES ones from Jennifer Belle, Scott Heim, and Warren Ellis are on they way. !!!!!

Also, here is my new author photo, taken in Phildelphia on Sunday by the amazing Kyle Cassidy, as the astonishing Trillian Stars and their lovely friend Dava looked on (and then Trillian, Dava, and I had a wondrous night on the town):

PLUS, here is a review of Godmother by the gorgeously coifed Ms. Cherie Priest:

Review: Godmother, by Carolyn Turgeon

Three Rivers Press
Price: $13.95
Reviewed by Cherie Priest

Don’t be fooled by the cheerful colors and whimsical design of Godmother, the second novel by critical darling Carolyn Turgeon (Rain Village). Though the premise is light and terribly sweet, the novel itself is a crushingly sad story told with beauty and earnestness; it is both urgent and strangely languid. It is a fairy tale in the oldest and newest sense–grim to the core, but postmodern and fresh enough to touch a modern audience.

So far as anyone knows, “Lil” is an elderly woman who works at a used bookstore in New York City. Her boss is a divorced forty-something, heir to quite a lot of money, and generally unlucky in love. Her new friend Veronica is beautiful, vivacious, and still mourning the death of her boyfriend in a car accident some years before. It’s a match made in heaven if Lil can arrange it, and it ought to be a cinch–for beneath Lil’s clothes hide a pair of feathery white wings that mark her as a Godmother.

But in Lil’s past lies a terrible mistake. A moment of weakness changed history and legend forever, when the godmother fell in love with the prince and Cinderella never made it to the ball. Lil was cast out of the kingdom of fairies, doomed to walk the earth as a human, never again to fly and never again to see Prince Charming.

But Fate is sometimes fickle and strange signs align, all of them pointing to the possibility of redemption. Kind of.

Other signs are aligning too, tragically balanced to imply another possibility. What manifests in the world of fairy may become apparent in the world of humankind, perhaps; or perhaps Lil teeters on the edge of perfectly normal dementia, quietly tormented by a long-ago crime that she cannot bear to remember.

This is a mournful story, so marinated in despair and longing that at times it’s tough to turn the pages; but the prose is so lyrical and precious that it can’t be ignored. Lil is an exquisite character–largely responsible for her own isolation, and not altogether noble in her suffering in a way that is despicably human. She hides a secret identity that might or might not be a figment of her imagination, and you desperately want to believe in her.

It’s a real trick to make a novel this bleak into something so beautiful that it’s impossible to put down, but Turgeon’s gift for language carries you past the painful parts. In this way, the small triumphs are writ large–and the small glimpses of hope and magic are soaring in their bliss, even when they’re irrational, and maybe even when they’re altogether imagined. But whether the doddering protagonist is fey or merely befuddled, Godmother is a transcendent little gem of a book.


AND THEN here are the final book covers (both versions come out the first week of March):


and British:

The end!

Nov 10, 2008

I'm in NYC and have spent the day with Tink and Aoife, who modelled the extremely fashionable boots and jacket I sent her...

I mean really. Have you ever seen a better dressed child?

I didn't think so.

Nov 3, 2008

So this morning I drove 45 minutes to this lovely lovely little town called Coburn to spend three hours sitting for a portrait class held in this old renovated church. Barb knows the artist couple who live in and teach out of this church and they asked both of us to sit for the class, on separate days, as we got "good faces." I thought this seemed like a cool thing to do even tho I did vastly underestimate how much it blows to sit stock still and stare at one spot for 3 hours (with breaks). I thought I'd be able to sit there and read, or at least look at everything around me... or at the very, very least, be able to think about the books I'm working on. But every time I'd think about something else my head would shift and my eyes would fall to the floor and I'd be reminded to resume the pose I'd had before. Well, that happened once, but it was enough to make me realize that you cannot even think, let alone read or look around, whilst pretending to be a statue. At least not the VERY DEEP THOUGHTS yours truly is typically entertaining. So it ended up being kind of torturous but kind of cool just to sit there unmoving, being absolutely focused on the movement of the women drawing in the periphery (it was five women all drawing me with pastels, and the man was teaching them and walking around and commenting) and the sounds of the chalk moving across paper and the heat coming on and off and, now and then, the coffee pot burbling. I think it might have been rather ZEN, tho I'm not exactly sure what that means.

It is also funny to be assessed as an artistic object. The teacher kept coming up and pointing out things about my face. One quote: "Note the drama between the color of the eye and the bright flesh of the cheek." At another point he told one woman that she was drawing me in a Pre-Raphaelite style (at which point I decided I loved her) and corrected her by telling her that I do not have a Pre-Raphaelite look at all, but am instead someone Rubens would have painted -- even telling her that if Rubens had taken one gander at me he would have locked me away until he'd painted me 100 times! Rubens! If I coulda talked at that point, I would totally have pointed out that I am, excuse me, a DELICATE FLOWER. The nerve. They did ask me to come sit for them again as it is "rare to find some one with flesh so luminous" as mine. Which, of course, sounded totally sweet and totally cannibalistic, which is how artists always sound I suppose, the bastards.

Anyway, here is the renovated church, the space we were in, and MAH VISAGE:

Also, the ride to Coburn:

And the coolest, spookiest house ever that is right on the way:

I also posed last week for the lovely Christine Rothgeb, who is half the grad student teaching team for the dark room photography class I'm currently sitting in on. We went into the basement of the Arts Building to the awesomely named "black box theater," where she set up those cool umbrella lights and spent like 90 minutes talking to me while taking 50000 photos. The next day she sent me a contact sheet with like 150 photos she'd taken with the digital camera (she took at least that many with her film camera first) and it was VERY WEIRD to see myself in various mouth-half-open mid-sentence gestures and poses. And I mean I didn't even look vaguely Pre-Raphaelite-ish, so obviously there was something deeply wrong with the camera. Anyway, she does all kinds of cool stuff with said (deceptive) images, and here are two she put on her deviantart page:

And while I'm at it, I think these two images of hers are completely gorgeous:

The end.

Nov 1, 2008

So yesterday morning I was at the gym with my deceptively angelic-looking personal trainer Sam, and I was holding a big heavy black bar across my shoulders, clutching it on either side, and I was stepping up and down onto this high bench, over and over, right foot up left foot up left foot down right foot down, 50000 times and then the other side, and the song "Your Body is a Wonderland" came on and that horrible breathy voice just snaaaaaaaked along my red, sweat-covered skin, and I'm telling you: IT WAS THE WORST MOMENT OF MAH LIFE. That might be a slight exagerration, but really. Not by much.

Then I saw The Duchess with my mama, and I was so sucked in that I still secretly feel outraged for Keira Knightley and hate Ralph Fiennes with my whole heart.

I also downloaded the soundtrack for Bread and Tulips, that lovely lovely Italian movie in which an unappreciated housewife gets left behind on a cheesy tour and ends up hopping a ride to Venice and starting a new life there -- working in a flower shop, hanging out with a sad, handsome old waiter and a kooky masseuse, and, after finding an accordion in the waiter's closet, gorgeously and charmingly playing the songs her grandfather had taught her as a child -- at which point she gets more and more hot, I might add, with flowers appearing in her hair and her lips turning glittery and red... And anyway she plays the loveliest little songs, totally sad and totally beautiful and totally glittery, and my goal in life is to LEARN TO PLAY THOSE SONGS.

Well that, and make a meeeeeeeeeeeeelion dolla.

The end.