Thursday, December 17, 2015

What is Paullina Simons reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Paullina Simons, author of Lone Star.

Her entry begins:
“There’s a panther stalks me down. One day I’ll have my death of him.” So writes poetess extraordinaire Sylvia Plath, the day after meeting England’s future poet laureate and her future husband Ted Hughes in February 1956. They fell in love and three months later married. Seven years later, in another frozen February, her premonition came true. She was thirty years old when she kneeled in front of the gaslit oven, while her two small children slept nearby, and put her head inside.

Lately I’ve been consumed by all things Plath/Hughes. Who was this man who drove his passionate heartbroken wife to suicide? And why did tragedy continue to follow him down the road of life? Many years later his only son also committed suicide. I re-read Ariel, the book of poems Plath wrote in the six months before her death. Ted Hughes was the love of her life, but he had fallen for another woman. He left Sylvia Plath, abandoned her and his children to travel joyfully abroad with his new lover, a childless yet married Assia Wevill (rhymes with devil not evil).

While they gamboled, Plath nursed her wounds and her babies and wrote Ariel, arguably one of the best poem collections of the twentieth century. And after she was done writing, she glanced around and Ted wasn’t back. She was still alone, and his new lover was pregnant. Plath may have known this. Or the winter of 1963 may have been too cold and too long for her, the burdens too heavy, the future too bleak. Who knows. Not even Ted Hughes knows. This, according to the books I read.

I read Sylvia Plath: Letters Home, followed by Her Husband by Diane Middlebrook, and...[read on]
About Lone Star, from the publisher:
From the bestselling, acclaimed author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman comes the unforgettable love story between a college-bound young woman and a traveling troubadour on his way to war—a moving, compelling novel of love lost and found set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Europe.

Chloe is just weeks away from heading off to college and starting a new life far from her home in Maine when she embarks on a great European adventure with her boyfriend and two best friends. Their destination is Barcelona, but first they must detour through the historic cities of Eastern Europe to keep an old family promise.

Here, in this fledgling post-Communist world, Chloe meets a charming American vagabond named Johnny, who carries a guitar, an easy smile—and a lifetime of secrets. From Treblinka to Trieste, from Karnikava to Krakow, from Vilnius to Venice, the unlikely band of friends and lovers traverse the old world on a train trip that becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s darkest past—a journey that jeopardizes Chloe’s plans for the future and all she ever thought she wanted.

But the lifelong bonds Chloe and her friends share are about to be put to the ultimate test—and whether or not they reach Barcelona, they can only be certain that their lives will never be the same again.

A sweeping, beautiful tale that mesmerizes and enchants, Lone Star will linger long in the memory once the final page is turned.
Visit Paullina Simons's website.

The Page 69 Test: Lone Star.

Writers Read: Paullina Simons.

--Marshal Zeringue