We will be discussing two of Alyson
Richman's titles: her most recent novel, "The Garden of Letters"
(available on Bookshare and Audible) as well as her debut novel, "The
Mask Carver's Son", DB 77613 (available on BARD) which novel was originally
published in 2000 and was re-released in 2013 after the success of her
bestseller, "The Lost Wife".
In her recent book, "The Garden of Letters", we meet Elodie, a young Italian
woman who becomes involved in the Italian Resistance movement after meeting
Luca, a bookseller with whom she has an unforgettable romance. Despite the
deprivations of war time Italy, this is a novel filled with much love and optimism.
In her debut novel, "The Mask Carver's Son" we are completely transported
to late 19th century Japan as we follows the lives of three
generations of a Japanese family. The grandfather is an acclaimed
actor in the Japanese Noh musical theater, his adopted son is a maker
of the masks used in this theater tradition and the grandson, a
painter, is drawn to Western painting and must struggle and reconcile
his place in the traditional world of Japan culture honoring one's
elders and ancestors with the pull of the spirit of individualism and
the freedoms permitted in European culture.
Here are the annotations from Bookshare & BARD:
Bookshare synopsis for "The Garden of Letters":
"THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE LOST WIFE Set against the rich
backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope,
suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining
story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.
Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic
coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd,
Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying
her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she's
never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter,
Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino. Only
months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona,
unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini's Fascist regime
strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance
movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the
occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and
her courage, have the power to save lives. In Portofino, young doctor
Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He
is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and
remorse. But Elodie's arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope
and joy that Angelo thought was lost to him forever."
BARD annotation for "The Mask Carver's Son":
The mask carver's son DB 77613
Richman, Alyson. Reading time 11 hours, 56 minutes.
Read by Alec Volz. A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.
Subjects: Historical Fiction
Description: Yamamato Kiyoki leaves Japan to explore the wonders of the Parisian art world at the end of the nineteenth century. His father Ryusei, a master mask carver, doesn't understand why his son does not want to follow in his footsteps. Kiyoki experiences culture shock. 2000.
We hope you can join us with your questions for the author on one or both of these books!