Editors and Writers Conversation Series: Cathleen Schine Presents Künstlers in Paradise, in conversation with Sarah Crichton

March 16th

McNally Jackson Seaport
RSVP Required — see below

In his book, A Swim in the Pond in the Rain George Saunders suggests, "we’ll find our voice and ethos and distinguish ourselves from all the other writers in the world without needing to make any big overarching decisions, just by the thousands of small ones we make as we revise." In our new conversation series we'll dive into these thousands of small decisions with some of the most exciting writers and editors working today as they discuss their collaborative process, and the ways their tiny decisions come together to create some of our favorite books. This event will feature Cathleen Schine's new novel Künstlers in Paradise: 

There was a time when the family Künstler lived in the fairy-tale city of Vienna. Circumstances transformed that fairy tale into a nightmare, and in 1939 the Künstlers found their way out of Vienna and into a new fairy tale: Los Angeles, California, United States of America.

For years Mamie Künstler, ninety-three-years-old, as clever and glamorous as ever, has lived happily in her bungalow in Venice, California with her inscrutable housekeeper and her gigantic St. Bernard dog. Their tranquility is upended when Mamie’s grandson, Julian, arrives from New York City. Like many a twenty-something, he has come to seek his fortune in Hollywood. But it is 2020, the global pandemic sweeps in, and Julian’s short visit suddenly has no end in sight.

Mamie was only eleven when the Künstlers escaped Vienna in 1939. They made their way, stunned and overwhelmed, to sunny, surreal Los Angeles where they joined a colony of distinguished Jewish musicians, writers and intellectuals also escaping Hitler. Now, faced with months of lockdown and a willing listener, Mamie begins to tell Julian the buried stories of her early years in Los Angeles: her escapades with eminent émigrés like Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood, Thomas Mann. Oh, and Greta Garbo. While the pandemic cuts Julian off from the life he knows, Mamie’s tales open up a world of lives that came before him. They reveal to him just how much the past holds of the future.

We recommend that guests wear masks on the night. 

Cathleen Schine is the author of The Grammarians, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, and the New York Times Book Review. She lives in Los Angeles.   



Sarah Crichton has been a writer, editor, and book publisher for more than 30 years. Künstlers in Paradise is the sixth novel by Cathleen Schine she's had the joy of editing. At Holt, she edits an array of nonfiction and fiction, ranging from Michael Wolff’s newsbreaking Landslide to Nick McDonnell’s illustrated novel, The Council of Animals. Her list at Sarah Crichton Books/FSG, which she headed for 14 years, included an equally broad range of notable books, among them, Ishmael Beah’s #1 bestselling memoir, A Long Way Gone; Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook; Jason Goodwin’s Edgar-award winner, The Janissary Tree; Pulitzer-prize winner David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers and Thank You For Your Service; and naturalist/activist Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land. Publisher of Little, Brown from 1996-2001, she published Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and George Stephanopoulos’s All Too Human. She is also the co-author of several books, including A Mighty Heart, with Mariane Pearl.






RSVP Below

In order to keep our events program running in uncertain times, we're asking attendees to hold their place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the event on any product in store or in our bar & café. You can alternatively reserve a spot by pre-purchasing the event book. If you have a change of heart or plans, write to events@mcnallyjackson.com and we'll gladly refund you and release your spot, up to 24 hours before the event. Thanks for understanding, and for supporting your local bookstore.