Kate Wenner

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From the acclaimed author of Setting Fires, this highly original new novel offers a protagonist so intensely felt and so compassionately rendered that readers will not easily let her go at the novel's end. She is Marea Hoffman, who, after wandering the world for seven years, has returned to New York at age thirty with the intention of starting her real life.

But Marea approaches everything in her own idiosyncratic style, and she is soon seeing four different therapists simultaneously and telling her story to each in a different way. The story she reveals is about her childhood in 1950s Princeton during the age of "duck and cover" drills and McCarthyism, when fear of communism obsessed America. Marea's father, a Holocaust survivor, worked on the Manhattan Project and later on the development of the hydrogen bomb; her mother was a confirmed pacifist.

Frightened by her early exposure to the threat of nuclear annihilation, young Marea finds comfort in the company of her father's colleague and friend, the grandfatherly Albert Einstein. Einstein charms Marea even as he provokes the wrenching moral debate that will drive her parents apart. When Einstein disappears from Marea's life as suddenly as he entered it and her father is killed in a mysterious car accident, she is left alone with a mother she no longer trusts and with questions that won't go away.

Nearly two decades later, during the August hiatus from her four therapists, Marea takes a reluctant trip home to Princeton. There her eyes are newly opened to the past when she uncovers her father's secret Cold War diary.

Weaving back and forth between 1970s New York and 1950s Princeton, Wenner's exploration of the impact that history can have on a young life is powerful and moving -- a deeply intelligent look at the challenge of finding hope in the modern age.



November 1, 7:30 p.m.
West Hartford CT Jewish Book Festival

November 4, 7:30 p.m.
Indianapolis Jewish Book Festival

November 8, 11:45 a.m.
Atlanta Jewish Book Festival

November 10, 10 a.m.
Cherry Hill, NJ Festival of Arts, Books and Culture
Katz JCC

November 11, noon
Detroit Jewish Book Festival

November 12, noon
Ann Arbor, MI Jewish Book Festival

November 13, 1:00
Ann Arbor, MI Temple Beth Emeth's
Film Presentation and Discussion of Setting Fires

November 17, 7 p.m.
Southbury, CT
Jewish Book Month Celebration
Walser Family Jewish Community Campus

November 19, evening
Chappaqua, NY
Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester

November 30, 7 p.m.
San Gabriel, CA
Jewish Book Festival

December 9, 7 p.m.
Denver CO
Jewish Book Festival

Selected Works

Dancing With Einstein
"The fallout of America's atomic nightmare is a touching, humanistic story."
-- Kirkus Reviews

Setting Fires

“Intense and touching."
—Publishers Weekly

"A winner...rich and riveting."
—The Toronto Sun

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