By Samantha Samel
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Susan Choi and Sarah McCarry, two acclaimed Brooklyn novelists, will appear at WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint on June 12 to discuss their recent work.
Choi, the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award-nominated author of “A Person of Interest” and “American Woman”, will speak about her acclaimed novel “My Education,” which opens 1992 when Regina Gottlieb begins her graduate education. Even before arriving on campus, she’s been warned about a particular professor — the handsome, brilliant Nicholas Brodeur — who has gained notoriety among the female population for his supposed sexual deviance. Against her peers’ advice, Regina becomes Brodeur’s TA and is soon inextricably entwined in his world. But it is his wife, Martha, who ultimately complicates Regina’s circumstances.
In an interview last summer, Choi spoke to the Brooklyn Eagle about the motivations for this book. “I've become one of those people whose whole outlook on life was unexpectedly revised by the arrival of children. I was really oblivious to children — their very existence, let alone their lives and needs — when I was a childless young woman.
“Pondering that change in myself got me thinking about what would happen if a young and naive and passionate and, it has to be said, rather self-centered young woman got involved with a lover who had a young child,” explained Choi. “I could easily imagine that young woman's indifference and even selfishness, with regard to the child. That's where this story got its start, although it quickly took several different directions.”
Tracing Regina’s mistakes from the bedroom and beyond, Choi’s novel examines the complex intersection — and divergence — of desire and responsibility.
McCarry’s debut novel, “All Our Pretty Songs,” is set in the Pacific Northwest and tells the story of two teenage girls who are inseparable. They’ve grown up together, both without fathers, and though dissimilar in many ways — Aurora an outgoing beauty and the narrator an utterly devoted, more introverted friend — the girls share a sisterly bond.
Their relationship has always been easy, but is tested for the first time when Jack, a charismatic musician, alters the dynamic. The girls struggle to address the emerging tension between them, but what they don’t realize is that Jack’s music has complicated a world beyond their own.
The June 12 event will begin at 7 p.m. WORD Bookstore is located at 126 Franklin St. in Greenpoint.