Live Stream: Lisa Alther presents Swan Song: An Odyssey

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Lisa Alther will be in conversation with writer and editor Vicky Wilson. This live stream event is free but registration is required. Please click here to register. Registrants will receive an email on the day of the event with the URL and password required to attend on Zoom. 

Swan Song: An Odyssey

A new novel, funny, wise, moving, true, as only Lisa Alther can write ("she had me laughing at 4 in the morning" --Doris Lessing), set on a cruise ship, about a woman--a doctor in charge of the ship's clinic--recovering from the loss of her longtime female lover, a much-admired writer, and coping with the high-wire madcappery of cruise ship life as she reckons with her past and feels her way into the future.

Dr. Jessie Drake, in her mid-sixties, following the sudden deaths of her parents and Kat, her partner of twenty years, has fled the Vermont life she has known for decades.

In an effort to escape the oppressive constancy of grief, she accepts a job from an old flame from her residency in New York City's Roosevelt Hospital, and agrees to assist Ben as the ship's doctor on a British liner. Jessie boards in Hong Kong, and, as the Amphitrite sails throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East, cruise ship antics ensue. Jessie is lulled back into a long-ago romance with the ship's co-doctor, and both she and her new/old beau become enmeshed with the ship's lead (female) singer/entertainer. Among the passengers who fling socialized behavior aside on the high seas: a former Florida beauty queen (Miss Florida Power and Light) on a second honeymoon with her husband, as she causes high-velocity scandal, while juggling onboard affairs with a suicidal golf pro, and a defrocked priest hired as one of the liner's gentleman hosts, until she vanishes--poof!--from the ship off the coast of Portugal . . . As the ship sails through the Gulf of Aden and into a possible hijacking by Somali pirates, Jessie retreats into her lover's journals, written during her final months, journals filled with sketches of potential characters, observations on life and love--as well as drafts of a long new poem in progress, "Swan Song," that seems to be about being in love with someone else, someone new. As Jessie's grief turns to suspicion about the woman she thought she knew so well, her illumination of the poem's meaning begins to lift the constraints of the past and make clear the way toward the future.

Lisa Alther was born and grew up in Tennessee. She has written eight novels, among them Kinflicks, a feminist coming-of-age chronicle. Her other books include Original Sins, Other Women, Bedrock, and a book of conversations between Alther and the painter Françoise Gilot ( About Women). Alther's books have been published in seventeen languages and have appeared on best-seller lists worldwide. She lives in Vermont and Tennessee.

Like most of our events, this event is free. If you decide to attend and to purchase the author's book(s), we ask that you purchase from Malalprop's. When you do this you are supporting our work and keeping more dollars in our community. Thank you!

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Virtual on Zoom
Swan Song: An Odyssey Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525657545
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 9th, 2020

About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385539869
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nan A. Talese - November 17th, 2015

Life with Picasso Cover Image
By Françoise Gilot, Carlton Lake, Lisa Alther (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781681373195
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - June 11th, 2019