Saturday, March 30, 2013

What is Paula Champa reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Paula Champa, author of The Afterlife of Emerson Tang.

Her entry begins:
When I’m working on a piece of writing, nearly everything I read is related to the current project. Now that I’ve finished a long work and am free to roam, I’m excited to turn to a waiting stack of both classic and contemporary fiction, from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot to Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden. First, though, I pushed everything aside to read musician Neil Young’s fascinating memoir, Waging Heavy Peace. The book was recommended to me by one of my sisters after she kept finding coincidental connections between some of the passion-projects Young is involved in —his ongoing work to develop an eco-friendly vehicle, the Linc-Volt, as well as an exhaustive effort to archive his artistic output in music and film — with the passions of the main character in my new novel (who is archiving a collection of modernist photography and is secretly involved in the development of a new, clean forms of transportation). I’m a child of the ‘60s and 70s and a fan of Young’s music, so I expected to be...[read on]
About  The Afterlife of Emerson Tang, from the publisher:
A beloved car becomes a piece of us—a way back into our histories or forward into our destinies. For Emerson Tang, the only son of a prominent New England family, that car is a 1954 Beacon. A collector—of art and experience—Emerson keeps his prized possession safely stored away. But when his health begins to fail, his archivist and caretaker is approached by a secretive French painter determined to buy the Beacon at any cost. They discover that the Beacon has been compromised and that its importance reaches far beyond Emerson’s own history.

Soon they run into another who shares their obsession: the heir to the ruined Beacon Motor Company, who is determined to restore his grandfather’s legacy. These four become unlikely adventurers, united in their aim to reunite the Beacon’s original body and engine, pitted against one another in their quest to claim it. Each new clue takes one closer to triumph, but also takes these characters, each grieving a deep loss, toward finding missing pieces of their own lives.

A fast-paced ride through the twentieth century—to modernism, fascism, and industrialism, to Manhattan, a German zeppelin, a famed concours in Pebble Beach, and a road race in Italy—The Afterlife of Emerson Tang takes us deep into our complicated automotive romance. A novel of strangers connected across time, through a car that is so much more than a car, it asks us what should be preserved, what memories to trust, and whether or not some of the legacies we hold most dear—including that grand contraption, the automobile—can be made new again.
Learn more about the book and author at Paula Champa's website.

Writers Read: Paula Champa.

--Marshal Zeringue