Left Bank Books hosts University of Washington professor and novelist Kathryn Davis, who will discuss one of our most inventive novelists, Aurelia’s debut non-fiction, Aurélia: A Memoir, in person at the Arts Cafe Literary High Low and virtually on our Facebook Live Page at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 14. Join us in person or on our Facebook Live page and order a SIGNED copy of Aurelia, Aurélia: A Memoir from Left Bank Books to support independent authors and bookstores! Davis will be in conversation with David Schuman, director of the MFA program at Washington University in St. Louis.
**Proof of vaccination and a mask will be required for entry to the in-person event. **Guests will need to bring photo ID AND either their physical vaccination card or a photo of their vaccination card.
Kathryn Davis will sign pre-event copies available for purchase at the event or online (for pick up or to mail out).
Kathryn Davis is the author of six novels. She has received the Kafka Prize, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lannan Foundation Literary Prize. She teaches at Washington University and lives in Vermont and St. Louis, Missouri.
A strangely dreamlike memoir and the first work of non-fiction by one of our most inventive novelists.
Aurélia, Aurélia begins on a boat. The sixteen-year-old author travels to Europe at an age when one can “try on characters like dresses”. She has the assurance of a teenager cultivating her first obsessions -Woolf, Durrell, Bergman-, sure of her maturity, sure of the life that awaits her. Soon she finds herself in a Greece far more dreary than the Greece of fantasy, “going up and down the steep paths every morning with the real old women, looking for ignition”.
Kathryn Davis’ new hypnotic book is a meditation on how the imagination shapes life and how life, as it goes, shapes the imagination. At the center is the death of her husband, Eric. The book unfolds as a study of their marriage, its deep joys and searing frustrations; it is also a book about time, the inexorable events that determine beginnings and endings. The preoccupations that mark Davis’ fiction are recognizable here – fateful journeys, an intense sense of place, the unexpected union of the magical and the real – but the vehicle itself is entirely new.
Aurelia, Aurélia explodes the conventional limits of memory. It is an amazing achievement.
“As a fan of her novels, I knew what to expect from Kathryn Davis: the beautiful prose, the depth of thought, the originality, the wit. But I wasn’t ready to be as moved as I was reading her intensely poignant memoirs. She has a knack for writing about the most difficult subjects with honesty, precision and grace, and though it is largely heartbreaking Aurélia, Aurélia made me rejoice.” — Sigrid Nunez
“It’s simply an incomparable book. Kathryn Davis has created what looks like a parallel plane of existence where lucky strangers – readers – are allowed to visit briefly.” –Heidi Julavits
“[Aurelia, Aurélia is] as one of those remote places populated by native flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on earth. . . . [Kathryn Davis] wrote a memoir that mimics the timeless quality of episodes that give meaning to life. Aurelia, Aurelia doesn’t care about the constraints of the melody, but it’s a haunting song nonetheless.”–Molly Young, The New York Times
For the in-person event, the presentation and conversation will begin at 7 p.m. at High Low, 3301 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103. Vaccinations and masks are required for in-person attendees.
You can watch live on Left Bank’s YouTube channel. To participate on Facebook, log in to your personal Facebook account, go to the Left Bank Books Facebook Live page and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until broadcast begins). You can watch on either place without logging in, but to comment or interact with the program, you must be logged in.