The Optimistic Decade author Heather Abel in conversation with Leni Zuman. 7:30 pm at Powell’s Books, 3732 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland. Kirkus Reviews calls Abel’s debut novel “a playful look at Jewish coming of age and coming-to-terms in the American West.”
Heather Abel in Conversation With Leni Zumas
Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, Heather Abel’s debut novel, The Optimistic Decade (Algonquin), takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters, and is a sweeping novel about idealism, love, class, and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it. There is Caleb Silver, the beloved founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There are the ranchers, Don and his son, Donnie, who gave up their land to Caleb and who now want it back. There is Rebecca Silver, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of both Llamalo and new love; and there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. Abel’s novel is a brilliant exploration of the bloom and fade of idealism and how it forever changes one’s life. Abel will be joined in conversation by Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks.