Wednesday 3/27, 6 p.m.
In the 1970s South, Mallie Malcolm is leading an unexpected life. She was raised by society’s strict standards to be a wife and mother, and not follow her dreams of being an artist. When she finds out about her husband’s infidelity and his lover’s suicide attempt, her world shatters.
Searching for direction, Valeria turns to an Episcopal priest for direction and solace—and spins into a clandestine, ill-fated love affair that forces her to confront all her preconceived values and expectations. Ultimately, Valeria picks herself up and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and creative independence.
Alice Bingham Gorman is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She earned an MFA in Writing from Spalding University in 2005 and received an Honorary PhD in Fine Arts from the Memphis College of Art in 2001. Her writing has been published in Vogue, O, the Oprah Magazine, O's Little Book of Love and Friendship, The Louisville Review, and countless regional periodicals and art publications. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, she now divides her time between Maine and Florida. Valeria Vose is her first novel.
Born in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia, Lee Smith began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. Since then, she has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and, most recently, Guests on Earth. She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with her husband, the writer Hal Crowther. Visit her at www.leesmith.com.
Praise for Alice Bingham Gorman
“What makes the narrative exceptional is its nuanced approach to Mallie’s spiritual transformation.” —Kirkus
“Thought-provoking, well-written, and emotionally riveting.” —Valerie MacEwan, Editor and Publisher of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature
“Alice Gorman’s beautiful first novel tracks the eponymous Valeria’s journey as she finds her way from dutiful wife and mother to independent and enlightened single woman, aware of herself and sure of her place in the world. Gorman is exquisitely attuned to social nuance and psychological detail, and she renders this community—Memphis in the mid-twentieth century—with wonderful accuracy. This is a necessary story about a journey all women take in one form or another, and the book is enriched by Gorman’s wisdom and compassion. Brava.” —Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta
“Here is that rare jewel—a spellbinding literary pageturner. It's hard not to love its desperate and fascinating heroine—Mallie, Memphis mother, ex-belle, and artist—caught at a point of extreme crisis. You literally can't put this book down, from the surprise revelation of Mallie’s husband's repeated infidelity through her priest's sexual exploitation during counseling sessions. Mallie’s determined search for her own spiritual self and her authentic identity is a winding trail that leads her into the past and back again, a rejuvenation through honesty and art. Beautifully written by Alice Bingham Gorman, this everywoman’s journey is a trip well worth taking.” —Lee Smith, author of Dimestore: A Writer’s Life