Jessica Handler presents The Magnetic Girl, in conversation with Charles Frazier

In rural north Georgia two decades after the Civil War, thirteen-year-old Lulu Hurst reaches high into her father's bookshelf and pulls out an obscure book, The Truth of Mesmeric Influence. Deemed gangly and undesirable, Lulu wants more than a lifetime of caring for her disabled baby brother, Leo, with whom she shares a profound and supernatural mental connection.

Lulu begins to "captivate" her friends and family, controlling their thoughts and actions for brief moments at a time. After Lulu convinces a cousin she conducts electricity with her touch, her father sees a unique opportunity. He grooms his tall and indelicate daughter into an electrifying new woman: The Magnetic Girl. Lulu travels the Eastern seaboard, captivating enthusiastic crowds by lifting grown men in parlor chairs and throwing them across the stage with her "electrical charge."

While adjusting to life on the vaudeville stage, Lulu harbors a secret belief that she can use her newfound gifts, as well as her growing notoriety, to heal her brother. As she delves into the mysterious book's pages, she discovers keys to her father's past and her own future--but how will she harness its secrets to heal her family?

Gorgeously envisioned, The Magnetic Girl is set at a time when the emerging presence of electricity raised suspicions about the other-worldly gospel of Spiritualism, and when women's desire for political, cultural, and sexual presence electrified the country. Squarely in the realm of Emma Donoghue's The Wonder and Leslie Parry's Church of Marvels, The Magnetic Girl is a unique portrait of a forgotten period in history, seen through the story of one young woman's power over her family, her community, and ultimately, herself.

Jessica Handler is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Invisible Sisters: A Memoir, which was named one of the "Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read" and Atlanta magazine's "Best Memoir of 2009." Jessica writes essays and nonfiction features that have appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Drunken Boat, Full Grown People, BrevityNewsweek, The Washington Post, and More Magazine.

Jessica Handler will be in conversation with Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain and Varina. The Magnetic Girl is the first novel in Frazier's Cold Mountain Fund Series published by Hub City Press. Learn more about the series here.

We ask that you purchase the books you want to be signed at our events from Malaprop’s. When you do this you are not only supporting the work it takes to run an events program, you are also telling the publishers that they should keep sending authors here. Can’t make it to the store for the event? Call us or order the book on our website in advance, and we’ll get it signed for you. Make sure you write your preferences in the comments if you purchase online.

Event address: 
Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
The Magnetic Girl Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781938235481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hub City Press - April 9th, 2019