Book Title: Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg
Category: Adut Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Mirare Press
Release date: March 2018
Tour dates: July 2 to 20, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (This book contains love scenes, one explicit love scene, and some profanity)
Liberty Landing -- a 2016 Finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction -- narrates the American Experience of the 21st century through the lives of a polycultural cast of natives, immigrants, and refugees in Azyl Park--a town in the Midwest.
After Angeline Lalande, a journalist and historian, unearths the real meaning of the name, "Azyl," conferred on the town in the 1800s by immigrant-hating politicians, the town elders begin the act of renaming it. During the course of the renaming, we meet the intriguing denizens of the town--survivors, strugglers, and strivers of every race and nationality, see the intersection of their lives, and the ways they find home, heaven, and haven in each other. We learn about the singular journeys that brought them to Azyl Park--a place that both transforms them and is transformed by them.
The larger story of the American Experiment is told through the personal story of Alexander Hamilton, the essential immigrant among the Founding Fathers, as Angeline writes a book about him. By the end of the novel, after Azyl Park is renamed, each of the characters has lost or found something essential.
Liberty Landing is about the personal and the political, family and loss, memory and migration, finding new love and a new home, and about history and the American Experiment. Seminal moments of the American Experience figure in this literary and historical fiction. Inspired by John Dos Passos' USA Trilogy about early 20th century Americans, Liberty Landing is a sweeping, lush, layered saga, set in a vibrant community, with a cast of Americans marked by neuroses, flaws, secrets, unspeakable pasts, humor, warmth, vulnerability, and humanity.
Liberty Landing is Gail Vida Hamburg's love letter to the American Experiment--the first in a trilogy.
To follow the tour, please visit Gail Vida Hamburg's page on iRead Book Tours.
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Meet the Author:
Gail Vida Hamburg is an award-winning American journalist, author, and museum storyist. She is the author of The Edge of the World (Mirare Press, 2007), a novel about the impact of American foreign policy on individual lives. A nominee for the 2008 James Fenimore Cooper Prize, it is a frequent text in undergraduate post- colonial studies, war studies, and creative writing programs. Born in Malaysia, she spent her teens and twenties in England before migrating to the United States. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Literature and Creative Writing from Bennington Writers Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont. Liberty Landing, the first volume in her trilogy about the American Experience, is her love letter to the great American Experiment.
She lives in Chicago—the setting for Liberty Landing, a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
Q. This book was a seven year labor. Could you talk about the journey from idea to novel?
I’m a naturalized American who migrated here after living in Asia and Europe. My first novel, The Edge of the World (Mirare Press, 2007) was written from a foreigner’s point of view. I knew that my writing would change and evolve the longer I lived here and the more American I became. I sunk into my life, became an American citizen, worked, read, studied, married an American, raised an American son (and lived to tell the tale;-), and found home. By the time I began Liberty Landing, I’d lived here for nearly three decades, and felt I had something original to say about the American Experiment. I began thinking about the novel in 2010 and reading and doing research for about three years. I began writing it in 2014 and completed writing it in early 2018.
Q Did you know what the book was going to be about?
Having lived in multicultural Asia and Europe, and then in Chicago, where I’ve lived, loved, and socialized across cultural and racial lines, I knew that the novel I wanted to write would be a diverse, polycultural novel. I also wanted to examine the American Experiment in historical terms and tell a great story about contemporary characters going through the American Experience.
Q: Is it historical fiction?
It’s genre bending—it’s both historical and imagined history, it’s literary fiction that is also a socially engaged novel that addresses political issues. You could say, it’s real life—straight up with no chaser—viewed through a fictional lens.
Q. Do you think politics belongs in a novel?
Politics touches everyone’s life—even one’s body is impacted by politics. America is now very politicized and partisan. With the novel, I wanted to remind Americans about the narratives that ought to hold us together—idealism, hope, tolerance, and deliverance.
Q. The characters are not characters we’ve seen before in American novels. How did you come up with these characters?
At the deepest level, characters are really aspects and fragments of a writer’s psyche. There are some who are historical figures, or fantasies, or composites of people I’ve known or met briefly. There are others who entered the story unbidden. For example, Bruce Halliday, the master brewer from Australia turned reality show star. I don’t know anyone like him, but he appeared as this mesmerizing spark of a character and compelled me to write him into being.
Q. Talk about the geography and landscape of your novel.
There are several immigrants from other countries in the novel who have recollections about their countries of origin. The main story, however, is set in a fictionalized town that was inspired by the diverse lakeside community I call home, in Chicago.
Q. What’s the next book for you?
Liberty Landing is the first book in a trilogy. There are characters on the cusp of falling in love or entering romances when the first book ends, there’s a widower grappling with grief, with a grandchild about to be born. I’m working on the second volume which follows the lives of the characters as they grow and change.
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Ends July 28, 2018