In 1983, Livvie Bliss leaves western North Carolina for New York City, armed with a degree in English and a small cushion of cash from a favorite aunt. Her goal is to launch a career in publishing, but also to live openly as a lesbian. A rough start makes Livvie think she should give up and head home, but then a new friend helps her land a job at a literary agency run by the formidable Bea Winston.
Bea hopes Livvie's Southern charm and boyish good looks will help her bond with one of the agency's most illustrious clients--the cranky Modernist writer Clio Hartt, an octogenarian recluse who accomplished just one great novel. When Livvie becomes Clio's girl Friday and companion, the plan looks like it's working: The two connect around their shared western North Carolina heritage, and their rapport gives Clio support and inspiration to think about publishing again.
But something isn't quite right with Clio's writing. And as Livvie learns more about Clio's romantic relationship with playwright Flora Haynes, uncomfortable parallels emerge between Livvie's own circle of friends and the drama-filled world of expatriate artists in Paris in the 1920s. In Clio's final days, the writer shares a secret that could upend Livvie's life--and the literary establishment.
Paula Martinac is the author of four published novels and a collection of short stories. Her debut novel Out of Time won the 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, and The Ada Decades was a 2017 finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award. She has published three nonfiction books on lesbian and gay culture and politics as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories. She teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She will be in conversation with Dr. Lorena Russell, UNCA Professor and Director of the Inquiry ARC.
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.