January Book Club: Kathleen Rooney (Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey & Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 7:00pm to 7:45pm

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We're putting the 2 in 2022 with our first book club meeting of the year! Join bookseller Elizabeth and author Kathleen Rooney as we discuss not one but TWO of Rooney's books: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey.

Cher Ami & Major Whittlesey

A heart-tugging and gorgeously written novel based on the incredible true story of a WWI messenger pigeon and the soldiers whose lives she forever altered, from the author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.

From the green countryside of England and the gray canyons of Wall Street come two unlikely heroes: one a pigeon and the other a soldier. Answering the call to serve in the war to end all wars, neither Cher Ami, the messenger bird, nor Charles Whittlesey, the army officer, can anticipate how their lives will briefly intersect in a chaotic battle in the forests of France, where their wills will be tested, their fates will be shaped, and their lives will emerge forever altered.

A saga of hope and duty, love and endurance, as well as the claustrophobia of fame, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey is a tragic yet life-affirming war story that the world has never heard. Inspired by true events of World War I, Kathleen Rooney resurrects two long-forgotten yet unforgettable figures, recounting their tale in a pair of voices that will change the way readers look at animals, freedom, and even history itself.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Lillian Boxfish took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy’s to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, “in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it.”

Now it’s the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now—her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl—but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed—and has not.

A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young.

About the author:

Kathleen Rooney is the author, most recently, of the novel Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin's Press, 2017) and the co-editor of René Magritte: Selected Writings (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). She is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her previous work includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and has appeared in The New York Times MagazineAllure, Salon, The Chicago TribuneThe Nation and elsewhere. She teaches English and creative writing at DePaul University and lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay.

Event address: 

Books: 

Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143135425
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 11th, 2020

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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250151162
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - April 3rd, 2018