Wed, Jan 24, 7PM — Thisbe Nissen, author of OUR LADY OF THE PRAIRIE: A NOVEL with Jay Baron Nicorvo, author of THE STANDARD GRAND: A NOVEL

 

About OUR LADY OF THE PRAIRIE:

A sharp and bitingly funny novel about a professor whose calm-ish midwestern life gives way to a vortex of crises—and her attempts to salvage the pieces without going to pieces herself

In the space of a few torrid months on the Iowa prairie, Phillipa Maakestad—long-married theater professor and mother of an unstable daughter—grapples with a life turned upside down. After falling headlong into a passionate affair during a semester spent teaching in Ohio, Phillipa returns home to Iowa for her daughter Ginny’s wedding. There, Phillipa must endure (among other things) a wedding-day tornado, a menace of a mother-in-law who may or may not have been a Nazi collaborator, and the tragicomic revenge fantasies of her heretofore docile husband.

Naturally, she does what any newly liberated woman would do: she takes a match to her life on the prairie and then steps back to survey the wreckage.

Set in the seething political climate of a contentious election,Thisbe Nissen’s new novel is sexy, smart, and razor-sharp—a freight train barreling through the heart of the land and the land of the heart.

Thisbe Nissen is the author of a story collection, Out of the Girls’ Room and into the Night, and two novels, The Good People of New York and Osprey Island. Her fiction has been published in the Iowa Review and the American Scholar, among others, and her nonfiction has appeared in Vogue, Glamour, and elsewhere. She teaches at Western Michigan University and lives in Battle Creek, Michigan, with her husband, writer Jay Baron Nicorvo, and their son.

About THE STANDARD GRAND:

When an Army trucker goes AWOL before her third deployment, she ends up sleeping in Central Park. There, she meets a Vietnam vet and widower who inherited a tumbledown Borscht Belt resort. Converted into a halfway house for homeless veterans, the Standard―and its two thousand acres over the Marcellus Shale Formation―is coveted by a Houston-based multinational company. Toward what end, only a corporate executive knows.

With three violent acts at its center―a mauling, a shooting, a mysterious death decades in the past―and set largely in the Catskills, The Standard Grand spans an epic year in the lives of its diverse cast: a female veteran protagonist, a Mesoamerican lesbian landman, a mercenary security contractor keeping secrets and seeking answers, a conspiratorial gang of combat vets fighting to get peaceably by, and a cougar―along with appearances by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Senator Al Franken. All of the characters―soldiers, civilians―struggle to discover that what matters most is not that they’ve caused no harm, but how they make amends for the harm they’ve caused.

Jay Baron Nicorvo lives on an old farm outside Battle Creek, MI, with his wife, Thisbe Nissen, their son, and a couple dozen chickens. His writing has appeared in Salon, Poets & Writers, and The Believer and has been featured on NPR and PBS NewsHour. He’s published a poetry collection, Deadbeat, and served as an editor at Ploughshares and at PEN America.