Emily St. John Mandel on Greenpoint

May 3, 2010

We are so excited about tomorrow night’s launch party for Emily St. John Mandel’s new book, her second novel – THE SINGER’S GUN. Emily’s first novel, LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL is now out in paperback and we have copies of both books for sale.

Here’s what our manager Stephanie had to say about the new book: “Mandel’s new novel, like LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL, is practically bashful about how clever and well-constructed it is. So let me tell you. It has a subtle grace, marvelous characters, and places that are just as alive as the people. And like MONTREAL, there are many scenes and images from it that are still with me. I think I will never pass an glass-windowed office building without thinking about this book.”

And here’s what Emily herself has to say about Greenpoint, where she used to live and write:

I came upon Greenpoint by accident, at the beginning of 2003. I’d just come down from Montreal with two or three suitcases, not much money, no job, and no social security number—I was prone to impractical international migrations in my early twenties—and my sublet was only for two weeks. I needed an apartment.

On my third or fourth night in the city, I was talking to the waitresses at a certain Irish bar near the river—I knew most of them from the five months I’d lived in Manhattan during the previous year—on the theory that waitresses, perhaps especially waitresses who also happen to be illegal aliens, generally have need of cheap real estate and might have some tips on cheap-yet-not-unbelievably-dangerous neighborhoods. They suggested Williamsburg.

The next day I took the L Train to Brooklyn and wandered the unfamiliar stretch of Bedford Avenue in the February sunlight, looking for roommate-wanted flyers. I called the cheapest one, which turned out to not be in Williamsburg at all, but on a quiet corner in the northernmost part of Greenpoint. I moved in a week later. I could see Queens from my bedroom window.

I lived in Greenpoint for ten months, with a series of roommates and then with my boyfriend. I was working on my first novel—Last Night in Montreal was started in Canada, but Greenpoint was where I began working more seriously on completing a first draft. I liked the isolation of Greenpoint, the way the Manhattan skyline is visible at the end of certain streets. Years after moving away from the neighborhood, I find I’m back there all the time—I live in Park Slope now, but I visit WORD more often than any other bookstore.

Pretty fantastic, huh? Come meet Emily and hear her read from her wonderful new novel. There will be passports for all guests, and if you visit the right country…you might just win a prize. We’ll have wine and cupcakes too, hope you can join us to celebrate with this fine author and friend of WORD. (Facebook RSVP)

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