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If You Are There (Counterpoint Press)
Set in the early 1900s, If You Are There follows young Lucia Rutkowski who, thanks to the influence of her beloved grandmother, escapes the Warsaw ghetto to work as a kitchen maid in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the bustling city of Paris. Too talented for her lowly position, Lucia is thrown out on the street. Her only recourse is to take a job working for two disorganized, rather poor married scientists so distracted by their work that their house and young child are often neglected. Lucia soon bonds with her eccentric employers, watching as their work with radioactive materials grows increasing noticed by the world, then rising to fame as the great Marie and Pierre Curie.
Soon, all of Paris is alit with the news of an impending visit from Eusapia Palladino, the world's most famous medium. It is through her now famous employers that Lucia attends Eusapia's gatherings and eventually falls under the medium's spell, leaving the Curie household to travel with her to Italy. Ultimately, Lucia is placed directly in the crosshairs of faith versus science--what is more real, the glowing substances of the Curie laboratory or the glowing visions that surround the medium during her seance?
If You Are There is a thrilling, page-turning novel that draws upon real characters and events to detail its examination of a young woman torn between the beliefs she was born with and the scientific realities blooming all around her.
Praise for If You Are There
“The fictional and historical mingle in Sherman's marvelous account of the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie. It is a rare book that is as scientific as it is magical and as magical as it is scientific. This is that book.” —Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award
"This splendid novel is about discovery, in its many forms: in science, in love, in ambition, in connection; it celebrates the intersection of the natural world and faith. Sherman explores all of her characters with precise, tender compassion and radiant insight; we move with them through beautifully described turn-of-the-century Europe, as they find their own understanding of love and loss and strength. You will love this unforgettable book." —Karen E. Bender, author of Refund, Finalist for the National Book Award
Susan Sherman is the author of The Little Russian. She is the former Chair of the Art Department of Whittier College and the co-creator of one of the most successful television shows for children in the history of the Disney Network. Learn more at susanshermanauthor.com.
Natashia Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center US Emerging Voices Fellowship and has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Named one of 2013’s Most Fascinating People by LA Weekly, she has a MFA from UC Riverside and is the creator of the popular LA-based reading series, Dirty Laundry Lit. A practicing lawyer, she currently teaches law at Trinity Law School. Her debut novel, Grace, was published this past June by Counterpoint Press.