Growing up, Princeton Public Library is where I dreamed of living. I spent so many afternoons there after school waiting for my mother to finish work, wishing she would be late, which she always was, so I could keep wandering among the stacks surrounded by books, whom I considered to be my closest friends. At Princeton Public Library, I was the most popular girl in the world with so very many friends of all types from all over the world. At Princeton Public Library, I was among the elegant, the exotic, the adventurous, the courageous, the outrageous, the truly mad, and they welcomed me as one of them. I fantasized about spending the night there, like Claudia at the Metropolitan Museum in The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, with a flashlight and a sleeping bag just to see what might happen. There were quite a few of us regulars–nerds, bookworms, kids with nowhere else to go–and the librarians were always tolerant, even fond of us. The library has changed so much since then–it’s been through a massive renovation–and now we are experiencing it virtually. I am so grateful and glad to go to home to Princeton Public Library any chance I get. Please join me and Martha there on June 4th at 7:30 where we will discuss her fabulous new novel, An Elegant Woman.
Drawn from the author’s own family history, An Elegant Woman is a story of discovery and reinvention, following four generations of women in one American family.
A profound meditation on memory, history, and legacy, the story follows one woman over the course of the 20th century, taking the reader from a drought-stricken farm in Montana to a yellow Victorian in Maine; from the halls of a psychiatric hospital in London to a wedding gown fitting at Bergdorf Goodman; from a house in small town Ohio to a family reunion at a sweltering New Jersey pig roast.
Martha McPhee’s latest novel is an evocative exploration of the stories we tell ourselves, and what we leave out. In this special event, hosted by the library in the town where she grew up, Martha will be joined in conversation with her sister Jenny McPhee.