Gini Alhadeff was born in Alexandria, Egypt, of Italian parents. After attending a French kindergarten in Khartoum, Alhadeff learned English in Tokyo, graduated from high school in Florence, Italy, and from art schools in London and New York. She is the author of a memoir, The Sun at Midday: Tales of a Mediterranean Family, and of a novel, Diary of a Djinn. She founded and edited two literary quarterlies, Normal, and XXIst Century! in the late 80's, and has since contributed regularly to Italian Elle, and to Travel + Leisure magazine; more recently also to the quarterlies Bidoun, The Drawbridge and to T Magazine. In 2004 she won Mexico's Pluma de Plata award for journalism. She edited and translated the first American anthology of Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli, My Poems Won’t Change the World (FSG 2013) and her translation of Fleur Jaeggy’s collection of stories, I Am the Brother of XX, will be published by New Directions in 2017.
My Brother's Madness is part thriller, part exploration that not only describes the causes, character, and journey of mental illness, but also makes sense of it. It is ultimately a story of our own humanity, and answers the question, Am I my brother's keeper?
When Scott Russell Sanders was four, his father held him in his arms during a thunderstorm, and he felt awe—"the tingle of a power that surges through bone and rain and everything." He says, "The search for communion with this power has run like a bright thread through all my days." A Private History of Awe is an account of this search, told as a series of awe-inspiring episodes: his early memory of watching a fire with his father; his attraction to the solemn cadences of the Bible despite his frustration with Sunday-school religion; his discovery of books and the body; his mounting opposition to the Vietnam War and all forms of violence; his decision to leave behind the university life of Oxford and Harvard and return to Indiana, where three generations of his family have put down roots. In many ways, this is the story of a generation's passage through the 1960s—from innocence to experience, from euphoria to disillusionment. But Sanders has found a language that captures the transcendence of ordinary lives while never reducing them to formula. In his hands, the pattern of American boyhood that was made classic by writers from Mark Twain to Tobias Wolff is given a powerful new charge.
“Had I stumbled on the hallelujah truth, or just gone mad—or, that is, had I gone mad again?”
No one was more surprised than Andrew Klavan when, at the age of fifty, he found himself about to be baptized. Best known for his hard-boiled, white-knuckle thrillers and for the movies made from them—among them True Crime (directed by Clint Eastwood) and Don’t Say a Word (starring Michael Douglas)—Klavan was born in a suburban Jewish enclave outside New York City. He left the faith of his childhood behind to live most of his life as an agnostic in the secular, sophisticated atmosphere of New York, London, and Los Angeles. But his lifelong quest for truth—in his life and in his work—was leading him to a place he never expected.
In The Great Good Thing, Klavan tells how his troubled childhood caused him to live inside the stories in his head and grow up to become an alienated young writer whose disconnection and rage devolved into depression and suicidal breakdown. But he also stumbled into a genuine romance, a passionate and committed marriage whose uncommon and enduring devotion convinced him of the reality of love.
In those years, Klavan fought to ignore the insistent call of God, a call glimpsed in a childhood Christmas at the home of a beloved babysitter, in a transcendent moment at his daughter’s birth, and in a snippet of a baseball game broadcast that moved him from the brink of suicide. But more than anything, the call of God existed in stories—the stories Klavan loved to read and the stories he loved to write.
The Great Good Thing is the dramatic, soul-searching story of a man born into an age of disbelief who had to abandon everything he thought he knew in order to find his way to the truth.