Anna Noyes presents The Blue Maiden, in conversation with Jenny Slate

 
Friday
May 17
6:30pm
 
McNally Jackson Seaport
RSVP Required — see below
 

From the author of Indie Next Pick and New York Times Editor's Choice Goodnight, Beautiful Women comes a transportive and chilling debut novel of two sisters growing up on an isolated Northern European island in the shadow of their late mother and the Devil.

“This debut novel churns with the smell of sea-damp wool, day-old bread, and elderflower-scented smoke . . . Noyes’ rich descriptions create a setting that, in all its consuming bleakness, is perfect for a story about the burdens of generational and gendered trauma . . . A twisting narrative of the horrors of patriarchal subordination that will appeal to fans of classic gothic novels.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Backdropped by the aura and lore of the island, Noyes’ captivating debut novel is a vivid journey into womanhood, self-discovery, and the bonds of family.”—Booklist

It's 1825, four generations after Berggrund Island's women stood accused of witchcraft under the eye of their priest, now long dead. In his place is Pastor Silas, a widower with two wild young daughters, Beata and Ulrika. The sisters are outcasts: imaginative, oppositional, increasingly obsessed with the lore and legend of the island's dark past and their absent mother, whom their father refuses to speak of.

As the girls come of age, and the strictures of the community shift but never wane, their rebellions twist and sharpen. Ever capable Ulrika shoulders the burden of keeping house, while Bea, alone with unsettling visions and impulses, hungers for companionship and attention. When an enigmatic outsider arrives at their door, his presence threatens their family bond and unearths - piece by piece - a buried history to shocking ends. All the while Berggrund's neighboring island The Blue Maiden beckons, the storied home of the Witches' Sabbath and Satan's realm, its misted shore veiling truths the sisters have spent their lives searching for.

A Nordic Gothic laced with the horrors of life in a patriarchy both hostile to and reliant on its women, The Blue Maiden is a starkly beautiful depiction of lost lineage and resilience.

“This perfect book stands all on its own. It is so finely crafted, every word is essential, incantatory. Terrifying, but real. I loved it so much.”—Jenny Slate, author of Little Weirds


Anna Noyes’ debut collection, Goodnight, Beautiful Women, was a finalist for the Story Prize and the New England Book Award, as well as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, Indie Next Pick, Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, and Amazon Best Book of the Month. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Vice, A Public Space, and Guernica, among others. She has received the Lotos Foundation Prize and the Henfield Prize, as well as residencies from MacDowell, Yaddo, Lighthouse Works, the James Merrill House, and Aspen Words. She lives in New York, on Fishers Island.

 

Critically-acclaimed actress, comedian, and New York Times bestselling author Jenny Slate is one of the most versatile creators working today. Slate is known for her starring role in A24’s Obvious Child, and for co-creating, co-writing and voicing the beloved Marcel the Shell With Shoes. In 2022 Slate was nominated for a Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and Oscar for the feature film of Marcel the Shell With Shoes. She is also known for her 2019 comedy special Stage Fright, and her essay collection Little Weirds, which was an instant New York Times bestseller. She can be seen in her new comedy special, Jenny Slate: Seasoned Professional. Slate is starring in the new FX series “Dying for Sex” opposite Michelle Williams, and this fall will release her second book, Lifeform. She is a graduate of Columbia University, and lives with her family in Massachusetts and Los Angeles.

 

 

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