Here at The Woodsy we love books. I mean we really love books, and we’ve been looking for a way to share that love with all of you. As half of our team lives in Seattle, wading in to the Seattle book scene seemed like the perfect place to start.
So, naturally, we jumped at the chance to support Anca Szilágyi (who has popped up in The Woodsy feed before), for her debut novel Daughters of the Air. And if that meant I (Julia), just had to bundle up/do a happy dance and traipse downtown to the Hotel Sorrento for a sparkling book launch party on a crisp night in December, so be it. One of the foundations of our mission here at The Woodsy is celebrating women in the Pacific Northwest doing what they love (like writing novels!), and sharing their work as widely as we can. So here we go!
It is true that there is a particular love of literature in the PNW and an abundance of ways to get involved, as can be seen with the recent designation of Seattle as a UNESCO City of Literature. If you keep hearing about the encroachment of corporate overlords draining the heart out of the city, or the infamous Seattle freeze, look no further than a gathering of this sort to convince you a warm, vibrant community thrives in Seattle and its surrounding neighborhoods. Hearing writers like Anca Szilágyi speak live about their process is a fantastic chance to raise the level of your reading (and Seattle) experience, and support local authors.
Put on by Hugo House, a bastion of Seattle literature, the event was held in the Fireside Room of Hotel Sorrento, also famous for its monthly Silent Reading Party. The launch for Daughters of the Air was a jovial, bubbling affair, and it was everything you would expect from a novel laced with notes of fairytale, coming of age, and history. During the reading, I was snuggled in a velvet wingback chair between the fireplace and the grand piano. The combination of the wood paneled walls, festive evergreen boughs, and quiet clinking of glasses had me thinking a harried enchanted character of some sort might sit opposite me at any minute.
I had the perfect seat to enjoy Corinne Manning’s reading, Anca Szilágyi’s reading, and their Q&A that followed. It is always a treat to listen to authors read their own words, and explain how their ideas ended up forming in their texts. For me, it lends a voice in my head for the narrator when I’m reading their works on my own later, and it provides the opportunity to hear what the writer was thinking during the writing process which is possibly one of my favorite things of all time.
According to Hugo House, Daughters of the Air is “a searing tale of love, loss, estrangement, and coming of age, the story of Tatiana ‘Pluta’ Spektor is an unflinching exploration of the personal devastation wrought by political repression, told with haunting fabulist imagery.” I don’t want to give too much away, though, if you’re interested in reviews, check out The Seattle Review of Books’ glowing write-up here.
What I will say is that I was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy, and I am enjoying this book immensely. It is a deeply involving story that jumps between 1980’s Brooklyn and the late 1970’s Argentina. The story, characters, and writing are, in a word, transporting. If you’re looking to get truly lost in a narrative, this is an excellent choice for you.
Note: We’re hoping to get out and meet more local PNW authors in the coming months and learn about what writers are working on and are passionate about. If you have a book or author you’d like to recommend, send us a note.