Concord, MassachusettsTwo weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Jennifer S. Brown
Events: New Literary Voices 2016
Book: Modern Girls
Jennifer S. Brown’s fiction articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she was the winner of the 2005 World’s Best Short-Short Story contest in The Southeast Review. Her creative nonfiction piece, “The Codeine of Jordan,” published in the Bellevue Literary Review, was selected as a notable essay in 2012’s The Best American Travel Writing and included in volume 9 of The Best Women’s Travel Writing.
Her first novel, Modern Girls, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.
After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.
As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world—and the fact that their lives will never again be the same.