Barberton native debuts
with moving love story
In And Laughter Fell from the Sky, the exceptional debut novel by Barberton native Jyotsna Sreenivasan, Abhay tells Rasika, “You’ve spent your life trying to fit into an impossible situation, being Indian in America.”
That’s a very insightful comment. Rasika is the privileged daughter of a Fairlawn anesthesiologist and his wife, who are frantic to see her married before she is 26 — a deadline only months away — and she is eager to meet the young man they have chosen for her.
She wants to be a good Indian girl, living at home until marriage and then enjoying the luxury her rich husband earns for her, and it would be a nice bonus if she likes him. Rasika’s parents don’t know what she is really doing when she says she is out with her friend Jill.
Abhay, who knows Rasika through her brother, thinks she should find her own passion, though he has no room to talk. Abhay is an idealistic recent college graduate who can’t make a move about his future. He believes in conservation and beauty, but all around him he sees highways and construction sites.
Rasika is one of the few beautiful things in his life, but her parents don’t approve of his caste or his prospects (none). Meanwhile, Rasika’s own prospects fade as first one suitor backs away, and then another. Together, and separately, Rasika and Abhay search for a balance between the traditions of their culture and the lives they want to live.
And Laughter Fell from the Sky (322 pages, softcover) costs $14.99 from William Morrow. Jyotsna Sreenivasan is an alumna of Western Reserve Academy and Kent State University, and is a middle-school English teacher in Columbus.
Artists, writers contribute to anthology
Indigo Ink, a Canton nonprofit publisher founded in 2009, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund its third offering, Modern Grimmoire: A Contemporary Anthology of Fairy Tales, Fables & Folklore, and sent out a call for submissions of poetry, prose and art.
With a grant from ArtsinStark, the county’s arts council, Indigo Ink was able to publish the book and award prizes for writing and for the cover image, an evocative Snow White-themed photo called Not Even the Woodsmen Could Save Her by Mandy Altimus Pond of Massillon.
They all got their money’s worth. Modern Grimmoire is an admirable accomplishment, with stories that advance the familiar once-upon-a-time into nowadays, while others retain the disturbing violence of the Teutonic Grimms (a grimoire is a book of spells or magic, so the title here is a pun as well as a tribute).
In addition to Pond, other local contributors include John Kiste of New Philadelphia, whose Henry’s Tale is a straightforward update of Hansel and Gretel; David Kolinski-Schultz of Canton, who wrote a love tale called The Music Box; and Jason Daniel Myers of Bath, whose Catspaw is a Grimm tale in the classic style, with all the elements including a slew of alternate endings for the undecided reader.
Canton photographer Tim Belden contributes a poem, Once, I Was Avedon, that traces film as a living being, capturing war, fashion and entertainment. Steven Ehret of Massillon and Erin T. Mulligan of Canton provide black-and-white plates.
The deserving prize-winning story, The Ex-Court Painter, Goya, and the Princess, by Michael Harris Cohen, an American who teaches in Bulgaria, begins the book with imagery that is both romantic and disturbing.
Modern Grimmoire (231 pages, hardcover) costs $18 from Indigo Ink.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.) — Maury Feren, the 97-year-old Produce King of Cleveland, reads from and signs his new memoir My Life So Far, 2 p.m. today.
Severance Hall (11001 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) — Susan Cain is the speaker at Case Western Reserve University’s fall convocation. Cain’s 2012 book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is this year’s common reading selection of the university. Tickets to the 4:30 p.m. ceremony are free but required; call 216-231-1111.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Strongsville branch, 18700 Westwood Drive) — Best-selling thriller writer Gregg Hurwitz signs Tell No Lies, about a San Francisco counselor who’s receiving threats, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Register at 440-238-5530.
The Learned Owl Book Shop’s Book Club in a Bar — Wooster author P.L. Gaus, author of The Names of Our Tears, will discuss his Holmes County-set Amish Country Mystery series at D’Angelo’s, 7995 Darrow Road, Twinsburg, 7 p.m. Thursday. Call 330-653-2252 for information.
Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — New York poet Michael Czarnecki (A Cyclical Passage) reads from his work, 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.