Colgate University recently included an excerpt from Laurie Loewenstein’s UNMENTIONABLES in the Colgate Scene, a publicationwhich recognized alumni who have gone on to write books featuring a strong sense of place. It shared selections from several alumni books along with an author discussion of how they were inspired by real places in their lives.
“To Midwesterners like myself, it is a place of great beauty; of distant horizons where the sky bleaches to white, where windbreaks of catalpas hem farm fields, where the courthouse is ornately fluted. But it is also a place of contradictions, where politeness and conformity glide above deep currents of emotion and sentiment. Where we are both insiders and outsiders — fertile ground in which to explore the true nature of community.”
Laurie Loewenstein, author of KJB’s flagship publication UNMENTIONABLES, was featured in a Book Q&A column with blogger Deborah Kalb. UNMENTIONABLES is set in Midwestern America during the women’s suffrage movement, the Chautauqua Circuit, and World War I. During the Q&A, Loewenstein explains how she was deeply influenced by Midwestern writers, including William Maxwell, Marilynne Robinson, Ray Bradbury, Sherwood Anderson, and Sinclair Lewis. Read the full Book Q&A here.
Books by the Banks: The Cincinnati USA Book Festival has invited KJB’s Laurie Loewenstein, author of the UNMENTIONABLES, to appear and sign copies of her novel on Saturday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free public festival is an annual celebration of books and readings in downtown Cincinnati, featuring authors and illustrators for signings, discussions, and family fun activities.
According to the Books by the Banks website, Loewenstein “counts four generations of her family as Cincinnati residents, going back to her great-great-great granadparents, Samuel and Nancy Weil. Her writing life began as a reporter for several daily newspapers. She is a graduate of Colgate, Syracuase and Wilkes universities. Unmentionables, a novel about insiders, outsiders and the true nature of commmunity, is set in the Midwest in 1917.”
The flagship publication of Kaylie Jones Books, UNMENTIONABLES by Laurie Loewenstein, was mentioned on a list of the Top 100 novels about World War I. The blog “Great War 100 Reads,” established to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I, added UNMENTIONABLES alongside Virginia Woolf’s MRS. DALLOWAY and Edith Wharton’s A SON AT THE FRONT.
In UNMENTIONABLES, the main character Marian Elliot Adams, an outspoken advocate for sensible undergarments for women, travels to France’s Picardy region during the war to help destitute villagers.
How did Laurie Loewenstein’s debut novel come to be? What gave her the most trouble? What will the author work on next? Find out in this interview with the author, found on Akashic Books’ website and featured on Akashic Insider.
Laurie Loewenstein’s debut novel Unmentionables, the inaugural novel in Akashic’s Kaylie Jones Books imprint, has received a starred review in the January 15th, 2014 issue of Library Journal! Read the full review below:
★ Loewenstein’s remarkable debut was selected as a Midwest Connections Pick for January and is the first book in a imprint from Akashic curated by award-winning author Kaylie Jones (Speak Now). In August 1917, Marian Elliot Adams, a fiercely independent advocate for women’s rights, is traveling with the “Chautauqua circuit,” promoting their message of “sensible undergarments for women.” When she takes to the stage on hot night in Caledonia, IL, her speech shocks the local residents, who are further disgusted when she falls from the stage and sprains her ankle, forcing her to stay in town for a week. One week turns into many, and Marian’s presence reveals Caledonia’s long-held but unspoken rules regarding women, African Americans, and social order. After befriending the town’s newspaper publisher, Deuce Garland, and his stepdaughter Helen, Marian begins to question her own motives and must contemplate continues her chosen life of a visitor always passing through, or being known in a small town.
VERDICT This immensely entertaining and illuminating book transports the reader back in time while confronting the timeless matters of courage, sacrifice, race, gender, love and death. Exceptionally readable and highly recommended.