Footsteps

The End of the World Notwithstanding

“Every word the right word, this book is a genuine keeper.” —Kirkus Reviews***Starred Review***

Rife with misadventure, brushes with death, and moments of existential insight, The End of the World Notwithstanding is a hilarious and reflective look at the emotional experiences that make everyday life exciting—and the physical ones that remind us we’re lucky to be alive. These nail-biting stories, all true, fill the reader with wonder, as in, “How do any of us survive?”

Encounters with wildfire, hideous insects, psychotic house pets, bad weather, gravity, predators, bullies, and the most potent force of all—fear—unfold in remote landscapes of the American West; on neon-splashed Hollywood sidewalks; in a Catskills summer camp for actors; in the Boston apartment of a famous senator; on a cliff high above the Mediterranean; beneath the streets of Paris. Goodwin looks for and finds meaning, if not security, in a clear-eyed acknowledgment of the human condition—and in the saving grace of laughter.

The End of the World Notwithstanding2021-03-22T15:56:49-07:00

French Like Moi

“I laughed until my sides hurt at Carpenter’s lighthearted and self-deprecating take on living in l’Hexagone.” —Kimberley Lovato, author of Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves

When Scott Carpenter moves from Minnesota to Paris, little does he suspect the dramas that await: scheming neighbors, police denunciations, surly demonstrators, cooking disasters, medical mishaps—not to mention all those lectures about cheese! It turns out that nothing in the City of Light can be taken for granted, where even trips to the grocery store lead to adventure.

Everything is grist for Carpenter’s mill. In eighteen tales, he lifts the curtain on what passes for normal in Europe’s most glorious capital: neighbors who plot to murder one another, hiccups in transportation, bizarre store exchange policies, operatic dramas in the condo association, healthcare à la française, underground labyrinths, and even terrorism. In the company of a cast of recurring characters, he leads us through the merry labyrinth of the everyday, one hilarious faux pas after another. Through it all, Carpenter, winner of Mark Twain House Royal Nonesuch Prize for humor, keeps his eye on the central mystery of what makes the French French (and Midwesterners Midwestern).

French Like Moi2021-04-05T14:19:32-07:00

One Hundred Years of Exile

“A gripping family account, historically rigorous and ultimately moving...that couples cinematic drama with both tragedy and triumph.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A vividly intense and personal saga.... It stirred such powerful emotions..." —Marina Romanov, grandniece of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

One Hundred Years of Exile: A Romanov's Search for Her Father’s Russia is the story of one woman’s journey through 100 years of history to find peace with her father. Tania Romanov Amochaev and her father were both exiled from their homelands as infants; both knew life in refugee camps. Their shared fate does not lead to mutual understanding.

The family’s immigration to San Francisco heralded a promising new future—but while Tania just wanted to be an American, her father could not trust that this was his final asylum. His fears and his resistance to assimilation leave Tania with deep resentment toward him and her Russian heritage. Decades later, his unexpected death exposes Tania’s open wounds and a host of unanswered questions about her father and his story.

A serendipitous meeting with a last surviving member of the Russian royal family, followed by a baffling error that miraculously connects her with unknown relatives, catapults Tania on a quest for answers in her father’s homeland.

One Hundred Years of Exile2021-02-28T18:28:34-08:00

The Creative Spark

“Michael Shapiro’s finely tuned, informed and intimate interviews strike to the heart of the matter.” —Tim Cahill, author of Hold the Enlightenment

The Creative Spark is a collection of interviews with some of the most creative people of our time: musicians, writers, visual artists, explorers, and chefs. These makers speak about what drives them, what helps them to see the world in fresh ways, and what inspires them turn their visions into art. During the past decade, Michael Shapiro has interviewed some of our brightest creative luminaries. Among the authors are Amy Tan, David Sedaris, Barbara Kingsolver, Pico Iyer, and Frances Mayes. His work as a music journalist has led to interviews with legends including Smokey Robinson, Lucinda Williams, Graham Nash, Lyle Lovett, Melissa Etheridge, Merle Haggard, and Jethro Tull bandleader Ian Anderson. And he’s spoken with creative masters in other fields, such as director Francis Ford Coppola and comedian Joan Rivers.

The Creative Spark2021-06-01T16:52:59-07:00

The Girl Who Said No

She Broke a 1000-Year-Old Tradition

Eighteen-year-old Franca Viola made history in 1966 as one of the first “#metoo” heroines of modern times, when she refused to go along with a centuries-old forcible marriage custom in Sicily. Having endured kidnap and rape, she publicly defied the expectation that she would marry the rapist to “restore her broken honor.” A social uproar occurred throughout the island—and beyond.

In Natalie Galli’s The Girl Who Said No, Viola’s remarkable story unfolds when the author arrives in Palermo to search for her, with little more than the memory of a tiny article she had spotted two decades prior. Galli wanted to know: whatever had become of this courageous girl who had overturned an ancient, entrenched tradition?

Throughout her search for the enigmatic Franca, Galli shares her own poignant and hilarious observations about a vibrant culture steeped in contradiction and paradox. Does she succeed in locating the elusive proto-feminist whose case forever changed Italian culture and history? Travel along on Galli’s engaging odyssey to find out.

“Engrossing from the very first page. I was totally swept away.” —Lavinia Spalding, author of Writing Away

The Girl Who Said No2020-12-20T23:44:40-08:00