Concord, MassachusettsTwo weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Book: The Book of Aron
The author of six previous novels and four collections of stories, Jim Shepard teaches at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. His work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s, and Tin House, among other periodicals.
Shepard’s latest novel, The Book of Aron tells the story of a Jewish boy growing up in poverty and desperation. Small and sullen, Aron is eight years old when his family moves from a rural Polish village to hectic Warsaw. At first gradually and then ever more quickly, his family’s opportunities for a better life vanish as the occupying German government imposes harsh restrictions. Officially confined to the Jewish quarter, Aron makes his way from apprentice to master smuggler until finally, with everyone for whom he cared stripped away from him, his only option is Janusz Korczak, the renowned doctor, children’s rights advocate, and radio host who runs a Jewish orphanage. Korczak in turn awakens the humanity inside the boy.
Ron Charles of the Washington Post describes The Book of Aron as “A masterpiece...a story of such startling candor about the complexity of heroism that it challenges each of us to greater courage.”