How it’s New York: In New York at the Irish Arts Center
How it’s Irish: Irish writer Karl Geary launches his first Novel Montpelier Parade.
[pullquote]He has crafted a compelling story of longing, love, loss and isolation with vivid characters and a driving narrative that made me not want to put the book down, and sad when I was finished reading.[/pullquote] What a delight it was to get the chance to hear my old East Village pal Karl Geary read this past Tuesday night at the Irish Arts Center! It was yet another wonderful evening of collaboration put together by the innovative folks at the IAC, with Jenna Nicholls and Gerry Leonard providing musical counterpoint and an insightful conversation with Poet, Playwright and Actor Dael Orlandersmith. I got a chance to sit down with Karl before the show and it was fantastic to get a further look inside the characters and inspirations behind this fantastic first book.
Karl has wandered in and out of the Irish scene in New York for the past 20+ years, and now calls Glasgow home. This first novel harkens back to the Dublin of his formative years and to characters flavored with the atmosphere of those times.
He has crafted a compelling story of longing, love, loss and isolation with vivid characters and a driving narrative that made me not want to put the book down, and sad when I was finished reading.
Karl read from a number of different sections of the book, at times racy, and at times sad, breathing life into the characters on the page and giving them a true dramatic presence on the stage.
The passages were interspersed with acoustic songs from the delightful singer/songwriter Jenna Nicholls and tone paintings from guitarist Gerry Leonard. Overall it was a wonderful way to introduce the audience to the tone and characters in the book and the copies were flying off the table in the lobby afterwards.
The conversation that followed with Dael Orlandersmith was a deep dive into the intentions of the characters, particularly that of the main female character, the older woman “Vera” and her interactions with the protagonist “Sonny”. The story is one of Sonny’s isolation in his dysfunctional home, his search for himself, love and passion in life, and the effects of the two strong female figures in his life and how they shape his view of the world. Dael’s impressions of how different our feelings are in current times about a young boy and an older woman were quite provocative and her humor and insight into the characters fueled the questions that followed in the Q&A with the audience.
It was great to travel down memory lane, and get to dive into the mind of one of the most interesting writers I’ve read lately. You can find copies of the book, from Catapult Press here on Amazon
or in fine bookstores everywhere.
My interview with Karl will feature in our upcoming podcast, so keep an eye out for that.
Can’t wait to read the next one!