Laura Kasischke & Lola Lafon
It is Lola Lafon who wrote the postscript to the French translation of Eden Springs, Laura Kasischke’s latest novel. This is certainly no coincidence, given how much both authors draw on common references to create powerful and fascinating characters.
History revisited through the prism of the novel
In their latest respective novels, Laura Kasischke and Lola Lafon brilliantly weave fiction and historical documentary around strong female characters.
Two authors both very similar and very different, who have become experts in the art of narrating historical facts and of drawing complex, nuanced portraits of women.
An American novelist and poet, Laura Kasischke teaches creative writing at the Residential College of the University of Ann Arbor (Michigan). She excels at subtly revealing the failings, hidden dramas and weighty secrets of a seemingly trouble-free society.
In In a Perfect World, The Raising, Mind of Winter and many other novels, Laura Kasischke brings out the latent malaise behind ordinary situations. In the words of Florence Noiville, she paints ‘a precise and frightening picture of the middle classes of the Midwest, somewhere between Hitchcock and David Lynch’. Her novels The Life Before Her Eyes and Suspicious River have been made into films.
In the postscript to Eden Springs, Lola Lafon argues that Kasischke engages in a ‘lyrical sociology of America’. Michigan, the spring of 1903. On the run after a scandal, Benjamin Purnell is a charismatic preacher who promises everlasting life to his disciples and in particular to pretty young girls. One day, the buried body of an adolescent girl sows doubts about the preacher’s activities. Inspired by a true story, this novel, illustrated with photographs from the time, broaches the fundamental traits of the author in an unprecedented manner: the border between life and death, the frightening and fascinating aspects of sexuality, the unexpected and the strange.
An author with French, Russian and Polish origins, raised in Sofia, Bucharest and Paris, Lola Lafon has published several novels, including The Little Communist Who Never Smiled about the young Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, and Mercy, Mary, Patty. She has also released two albums: Grandir à l’envers de rien (2006) and Une vie de voleuse (2011).
In Mercy, Mary, Patty, Lola Lafon mobilizes a paradoxical icon of the American ‘story’ to try to grasp that tipping point when we turn our backs on our origins. This novel focuses on the moment when that radical choice is made and on the condemnation of those who deviate from the mainstream, a condemnation that resembles an exorcism. In February 1974, Patricia Hearst, the granddaughter of the famous newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by a revolutionary group whose cause she soon embraced, to the surprise of the establishment, which rapidly concluded that she had been brainwashed.
The meeting will be moderated by Florence Noiville, an author and journalist with Le Monde. She had participated in the Passa Porta Seminar on ‘the reader’ in March 2018, in preparation of the festival.
Laura Kasischke & Lola Lafon will sign their books at 13:00 at La Bellone. Books will also be for sale at the signing.
Passa Porta, La Bellone