Kaveh Akbar and Donna Hemans

Note: free tickets are required for this event. Reserve them here!

Join two acclaimed novelists as they read from their fantastic new projects live at the Raven! Books will be available for sale and signing.

ABOUT THE BOOKS:

Cyrus Shams is a young man grappling with an inheritance of violence and loss: his mother’s plane was shot down over the skies of the Persian Gulf in a senseless accident; and his father’s life in America was circumscribed by his work killing chickens at a factory farm in the Midwest. Cyrus is a drunk, an addict, and a poet, whose obsession with martyrs leads him to examine the mysteries of his past—toward an uncle who rode through Iranian battlefields dressed as the angel of death to inspire and comfort the dying, and toward his mother, through a painting discovered in a Brooklyn art gallery that suggests she may not have been who or what she seemed. Kaveh Akbar’s Martyr! is a paean to how we spend our lives seeking meaning—in faith, art, ourselves, others.

With news of her father’s passing, Pearline abruptly leaves her daughter and grandchildren behind in Brooklyn to return to her childhood home in Jamaica. But Pearline isn’t prepared for her father’s puzzling deathbed wish that she find her siblings—whom she hasn’t seen in 60 years—and discover the secret that tore her family apart. Moving through time and place, from Cuba to Montego Bay and from Brooklyn to Havana, The House of Plain Truth traces Pearline’s reconciliation of what she thought she knew about her family and the truth of their origin. Inspired by the author's own family story, this delicate, incisive novel explores the divided loyalties within a family, the true meaning of home, and what one woman must sacrifice to finally get what she wants.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: 

KAVEH AKBAR’s poems appear in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. He is the author of two poetry collections: Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf, in addition to a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic. He is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 110 Poets on the Divine. He lives in Iowa City.

Donna Hemans is the author of two previous novels, River Woman and Tea By the Sea, which won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Electric LiteratureMs. Magazine, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. She is also the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers based in Washington, DC. Born in Jamaica, she lives in Maryland, and received her undergraduate degree in English and Media Studies from Fordham University and an MFA from American University.

Event date: 
Friday, February 9, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Staff Pick Badge
Martyr!: A novel By Kaveh Akbar Cover Image
$25.20
ISBN: 9780593537619
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Knopf - January 23rd, 2024

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK • A newly sober, orphaned son of Iranian immigrants, guided by the voices of artists, poets, and kings, embarks on a remarkable search for a family secret that leads him to a terminally ill painter living out her final days in the Brooklyn Museum. Electrifying, funny, and wholly origin


The House of Plain Truth By Donna Hemans Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9798986241814
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Zibby Books - January 30th, 2024

A lyrical, lush, evocative story about a fractured Jamaican family and a daughter determined to reclaim her home.


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