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Posts Tagged ‘The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R’

(Photo © Sigrid Estrada.)

Carole DeSanti, a WNBA-NYC member and a panelist on the upcoming Historical Fiction Panel, is Vice President, Editor at Large at Viking Penguin. She is known for championing original voices in women’s fiction, including Dorothy Allison, Melissa Bank, Terry McMillan, Ruth Ozeki, Marisha Pessl and Deborah Harkness. Her debut novel, The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., was published in March 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It has been described as “an unflinching portrait of love and loss against a landscape of Parisian decadence,” and “magnificent in scope and achievement.”

Ms. DeSanti wrote a piece for the March 30th issue of Shelf Awareness, in which she describes some of the research she did for her novel. An excerpt of her piece is below.

Pesky Distinctions
By Carole DeSanti

“Strauss-Kahn Charged in French Prostitution Probe” read a recent headline, marking a new stage in the months-long investigation into organized sex parties in Paris, Vienna and Washington, D.C. allegedly involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Henri Leclerc caused a stir late last year by stating, “People are not always clothed at these parties. I challenge you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a classy lady in the nude.”

This has long been a dilemma, I found, while researching The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. However, during France’s Second Empire, under the Regulation System, the problem was much more easily resolved…

To see the full piece, visit Shelf Awareness here.

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Here’s a sneak peak of the upcoming New York Bookwoman! Roz Reisner writes about the enduring popularity of historical fiction and some of what you’ll see at the April 26th Historical Fiction Panel

By Roz Reisner

In case you haven’t noticed, our historical fiction panel, coming up on April 26th, is part of a literary trend that’s at full throttle this year.  Publishers Weekly recently called historical fiction “a nimble genre that works its way into all corners of the storytelling ecosystem.” If you don’t think there’s an interest in the past, just remember the excitement surrounding the new Downton Abbey series which was followed by a spate of books about the period, at least one of which made it to the Times’ bestseller list.  Many of the literary prize winners and shortlists this year have been dominated by historical fiction—just this past month, Julie Otsuka’s lovely novel about Japanese picture brides, The Buddha in the Attic (a 2011 Great Group Reads pick!), won the PEN/Faulkner Award.

So what’s the appeal of historical fiction for readers and writers? For readers, it’s the chance to learn history in an entertaining way, to gain insight into what life was like in another era, or to enjoy a new twist on familiar events or characters. I love the feeling of starting a novel and knowing that you’re in for an absorbing story. It’s like being taken on a trip where someone else is doing the work of packing, getting you to the airport, arranging the sightseeing, and providing a safe and satisfying return home. With historical fiction, there’s the extra bonus of time travel–you can’t get to that destination without the author’s imagination and research.

For writers, it’s the chance to re-write history, to give voice to people who didn’t make it into the history books, to imagine the interior life of a well-known person, or to satisfy a fascination with an era. I’m sure the authors at our panel—Carole DeSanti and Kathryn Harrison—will tell us why they chose France’s Second Empire and the final days of the Romanovs for their novels. I’ve been reading and enjoying both novels—Carole DeSanti’s The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R and Kathryn Harrison’s Enchantments—and I’m eager to hear about their process of imagining the characters and the setting. Since we’ll have an agent, editor, and reviewer on the panel as well, we’ll have a picture of what happens when that precious manuscript leaves the author’s hands and what it encounters as it makes its way to us.  RSVP to join us at 6pm on April 26th at the Wix Lounge for a lively evening of discussion, networking, and refreshments.

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