THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 7pm - AUTHOR SIGNING
VISIONS OF EXILE
LIGIA RAVÉ author of Hanah’s Paradise
MARK LYONS author of Espejos y Ventanas/ Mirrors and Windows: Oral Histories of Mexican Farmworkers and Their Families
Like Scheherazade, the narrator of Ligia Ravé’s beautifully rendered novel, HANAH’S PARADISE, has to tell stories—in this case her family’s stories—in order to keep memory alive. Primarily, the memories are of suffering, displacement and loss. Only in Hanah’s Paradise, a magical, mystical place in northern Israel, where the history of this far-flung Jewish family is recorded in letters, recipes and songs, can happiness be found. However, this happiness, too, is only temporary—Jews are fated to wander the world, as the patriarch of the family comes to understand. A branch of flowering bamboo will be the sole reminder of their lost paradise. Told in wonderful, vibrant language, the tale of the Ravayah family has the magical, almost dreamlike quality of a García Márquez story, only this story has taken over a thousand years to tell and there is, as yet, no end to it.
An epic of faith and family, Hanah’s Paradise spans one of the more eventful millennia of Jewish history. Ligia Ravé writes with passion, wisdom and a profound knowledge of the way the past tugs at the heartstrings of the present moment.
Imaginative and playful, HANAH’S PARADISE is Ligia Ravé’s heirloom garden, a paradise lost and rediscovered, lush with erotic poetry, tasty recipes and Jewish mysticism. Ravé takes the reader from Eden to eternity, provocatively proposing a scenario that transcends conflicts in the Middle East.
LIGIA RAVÉ, received a doctorate in art history from the Sorbonne, moved to the United States in 1982. An architect and a scholar, she has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Tulane University, where for a decade she was the Henry Luce Professor of Architecture and Society.
Mark Lyons has published fiction in Whetstone (J. P. McGrath Memorial Award), Bucks County Writer, Sensations, the Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, and Piker Press, and his work has been read in the Writing Aloud series at Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company. He is a recipient of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships for 2003 and 2009 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The oral histories in ESPEJOS Y VENTANAS / MIRRORS AND WINDOWS grew out of Mark's extensive work with Latino immigrants in Pennsylvania. It is a collection of rich and profoundly moving stories of the Mexican immigrant community of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, whose three generations have migrated north to work in the world's largest mushroom industry. Published in both Spanish and English, these oral histories offer a rare window into the aspirations and fears of these immigrants and their children. They also provide personal testimonies of the general struggles of immigrant populations for social, political, and economic rights. Mark currently serves as co-director of the Open Borders Healing Stories Project, in which immigrants produce audio stories about their lives; these stories are webcast, played on radio, and published in Wild River Review.