Katherine's Wish

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Wordcraft of Oregon, 2008 - Fiction - 228 pages
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In her new novel, Linda Lappin (author of THE ETRUSCAN) explores the final years in the life of short story writer and literary figure, Katherine Mansfield, focusing on her relationships with Ida Baker and John Middleton Murry against the backdrop of her ceaseless journeys and changes of residence -- the South of France, London, Italy, Switzerland, and finally, Fontainebleau. The narrative incorporates modernist techniques used by Mansfield, Virginia Wolff, and D.H. Lawrence in their fiction. Though the book deals with tragic issues, it celebrates Mansfield's deep love of life, which never abandoned her, and its final message is a life-affirming one of joy and of wholeness achieved. "KATHERINE'S WISH is a beautifully observed novel [that] reveals a core truth: that Mansfield's was not so much a creative life cut short as one that flourished so long against all odds." -- Alexandra Johnson, author of THE HIDDEN WRITER "KATHERINE'S WISH, fifteen years in the making, is a dazzling bit of fictional sorcery, conjuring to life the bright and talented swirl of modern society in the 1920s... This novel is a must read, whether you have historical interests per se or only enjoy a story so compelling and moving that there's no putting it down. I certainly couldn't!" -- David Lynn, editor, the KENYON REVIEW Linda Lappin is the author of THE ETRUSCAN (Wynkin de Worde, Galway, 2004) hailed by critics as a new classic in American writing about Italy. Semi-Finalist for the 2000 Three Oaks First Novel Prize awarded by Story-Line Press in Oregon, THE ETRUSCAN was selected as a Book of the Week by BOOK VIEW IRELAND and praised by the LITERARY REVIEW as "compelling, haunting, intriguing," and by PRAIRIE SCHOONER as "gorgeously detailed, wickedly fun." She is also the author of PRISONER OF PALMARY, an experimental historical novel set in 18th century Italy, short-listed for the Mid-List First Novel Award in 1999. Her essays, poetry, reviews and fiction have appeared in a wide variety of US publications, from the KENYON REVIEW to the KANSAS CITY STAR. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The last chapter of KATHERINE'S WISH was short-listed for the Eric Hoffer short fiction award in 2007 and was published in BEST NEW WRITING 2007. She teaches Creative Writing for the U.S.A.C. Study Abroad program in Viterbo. She also directs the Writing Center of Centro Pokkoli www.pokkoli.org Her websites are www.lindalappin.net and www.theetruscan.com

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2009 Finalist Foreword Book of the Year in Fiction 2010 Gold Medal IPPY Awards in the Historical fiction category 2011 Honorable mention, fiction Paris Book Festival "Lappin succeeds where medicine ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Linda Lappin, poet, novelist, and translator, was born in Tennessee in 1953. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in 1978. During her years at Iowa, she specialized in poetry with Florida poet Donald Justice. Her first volume of poetry, Wintering with the Abominable Snowman, was published by the avant-garde press, 'kayak, ' of Santa Cruz, California in 1976. She received a Fulbright grant in 1978 to participate in a two-year Fulbright seminar in literary translation held in Rome at the Centro Studi Americani, under the directorship of Frank MacShane of Columbia University and William Weaver, the noted translator from Italian. The project pursued by Lappin in those years, a translation from the Italian of Carmelo Samon...'s novel, Brothers, won two prizes in literary translation in the United States: The Renato Poggioli Award in Translation from Italian given by the New York PEN club and a National Endowment for the Arts grant in translation in 1987. She was awarded a second translation grant from the NEA in 1996 for her work on Tuscan writer Federigo Tozzi. From 1987 to the year 2000, she published essays, poems, reviews, and short stories in many US and European publications, including several essays on women writers and artists of the 1920s, including "Missing Person in Montparnasse," in the Literary Review, dedicated to the life of Jeanne H buterne, "Jane Heap and her Circle" in Prairie Schooner, dealing with the lives of Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson, founders of the Little Review and "Dada Queen in the Bad Boys' Club, Baroness Elsa Von Freitag Loringhoven" in Southwest Review. Major themes in Lappin's work include women's biographies and autobiographies, expatriate writers in the 1920s, and displacement. In The Etruscan her first novel (Wynkin deWorde, Galway, Ireland 2004) Harriet Sackett, a feminist photographer, travels to Italy to photograph Etruscan tombs for the Theosophical Society. Here she falls in love with a charismatic count, the occultist and amateur archaeologist, Federigo del Re, who materializes and disappears into the Etruscan landscape. As Harriet stalks her phantasm-lover, the solution to the mystery which propels the novel retreats. Is Federigo Del Re faithful; is he a real count, or even a real man; a fantasy or an Etruscan ghost? The novel draws inspiration from the literary gothic novel, Jungian archetypes, fairy tales, and from DH Lawrence's Sketches of Etruscan Places. Critically, The Etruscan has been analyzed as a recapitulation of the entire tradition of English/American fiction set in Italy. (Prampolini, 2007, 2008)Lappin's second novel, Katherine's Wish(Wordcraft of Oregon, 2008) is a re-elaboration of textual documentation pertaining to the final phase of Katherine Mansfield's life. Written from three points of view, that of Katherine Mansfield, of her companion, Ida Baker, and of her husband, John Middleton Murry, Katherine's Wish recreates a slice of Mansfield's life from 1918 until her retreat to Fontainebleau, to Gurdjieff's Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in 1922, where she died in 1923. The novel focuses on Mansfield's triangular relationship with Ida Baker and Middleton Murry while tracing her artistic and spiritual quest.

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