Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What is Tara Conklin reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl.

Her entry begins:
I’m currently in the midst of promotion for my debut novel, The House Girl, which leaves precious little time for reading. I have found that in particularly busy periods, it’s hard for me to focus on a novel so I turn to short story collections. Lucky for me, there are a host of great ones out there these days so I’m dabbling in a few, depending on my mood and whatever is closest to hand. I picked up Jess Walter’s new collection, We Live in Water, at the ALA Conference in Seattle and it’s fantastic. Beautiful Ruins was one of my favorite novels of 2012, so I was eager to read his shorter fiction and I have not been disappointed. The characters here are certainly less glamorous than Beautiful Ruins, but equally human and compelling. The title story, "We Live in Water," is particularly a...[read on]
About The House Girl, from the publisher:
Two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, whose lives unexpectedly intertwine...

2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves.

1852: Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.

It is through her father, renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world: art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm, were actually the work of her house slave, Josephine.

A descendant of Josephine's would be the per-fect face for the lawsuit—if Lina can find one. But nothing is known about Josephine's fate following Lu Anne Bell's death in 1852. In piecing together Josephine's story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother's mysterious death twenty years before.

Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing tale of art and history, love and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong, and asks whether truth can be more important than justice.
Learn more about the book and author at Tara Conklin's website.

The Page 69 Test: The House Girl.

Writers Read: Tara Conklin.

--Marshal Zeringue