Saturday, April 09, 2016

What is Billie Livingston reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Billie Livingston, author of The Crooked Heart of Mercy.

Her entry begins:
I have just begun reading a collection of interwoven short stories called Mother of Sorrow by Richard McCann. The book came out in 2006 and I had never heard of it before last week.

A few days ago, I finished a book tour down the west coast of the United States. My last stop was Book Passage in San Francisco. Because The Crooked Heart of Mercy is an American debut for me—and because bookstore readings are notorious for the empty-chair factor—we had a small crowd of five people gathered. And yet it was a wondrous evening. After the reading and talk, the six of us got into a conversation about different faiths, spirit and spiritualism, dying and strange visions. In the front row was a woolly bearded man, slim with silver hair and quiet eyes. He sat clutching one of those emergency foil thermal blankets. He talked about reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead to his dying mother. His mother had been his best friend, he said. He talked about being a 67-year-old gay man and growing up Presbyterian in Kentucky. He'd been living on the streets for many years now.

At the back of the room was a woman from Ottawa who said she had been...[read on]
About The Crooked Heart of Mercy, from the publisher:
From acclaimed Canadian novelist Billie Livingston comes this powerful U.S. debut that unfolds over a riveting dual narrative—an unforgettable story of ordinary lives rocked by hardship and scandal that follows in the tradition of Jennifer Haigh, A. Manette Ansay, and Jennifer Egan.

Ben wakes up in a hospital with a hole in his head he can't explain. What he can remember he’d rather forget. Like how he’d spend nights as a limo driver for the wealthy and debauched….how he and his wife, Maggie, drifted apart in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy…how his little brother, Cola, got in over his head with loan sharks circling.

Maggie is alone. Again. With bills to pay and Ben in a psych ward, she must return to work. But who would hire her in the state she’s in? And just as Maggie turns to her brother, Francis, the Internet explodes with video of his latest escapade. The headline? Drunk Priest Propositions Cops.

Francis is an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and little interest in celibacy. A third DUI, a looming court date.…When Maggie takes him in, he knows he may be down to his last chance. And his best shot at healing might lie in helping Maggie and Ben reconnect—against all odds.

Simmering with dark humor and piercing insights, The Crooked Heart of Mercy is a startling reminder that redemption can be found in the most unlikely of places.
Read more about the author and her books at the official Billie Livingston website.

My Book, The Movie: Cease to Blush.

The Page 69 Test: The Crooked Heart of Mercy.

My Book, The Movie: The Crooked Heart of Mercy.

Writers Read: Billie Livingston.

--Marshal Zeringue