Kathleen Alcalá & Dalia Kandiyoti
This evening brings longtime Elliott Bay friend Kathleen Alcalá virtually over from her Bainbridge Island home to celebrate this new edition of her first novel, Spirits of the Ordinary. Published by Raven Chronicles Press, which has become a welcome presence in book publishing hereabouts, this award-winning novel tells a late 19th-century story of a man distanced from family and his Jewish origins struggling to find his way.
"A fecund fable about the convergence of cultures—Mexican, American and Jewish—along the Mexico/Texas border.... Alcalá's seductive writing mixes fatalism and hope, logic and fantasy."—Publishers Weekly.
"Alcalá's lyrical language soars, sweeping the reader into achingly beautiful landscapes, the rapture of spiritual experience and the madness lurking at the edge of solitude."—Claudia Castro Luna.
Kathleen Alcalá is the author of five other works of fiction and non-fiction. Joining her this evening will be Dalia Kandiyoti, professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and author of The Converso’s Return: Conversion and Sephardi History in Contemporary Literature and Cinema (Stanford University), a book which traces some of the same ground Kathleen Alcalá works in her fiction.
"Embedded in a sophisticated theoretical framework and a wide range of historical reference, The Converso's Return brilliantly explores and confronts questions of memory's use and representation. In creating a new literary map based on seemingly disparate texts that actually belong together, Dalia Kandiyoti is ever vigilant to the political implications of all forms of return."—Ammiel Alcalay.