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NICK DYBEK reads from his new novel THE VERDUN AFFAIR

The Verdun Affair (Scribner Book Company)

A sweeping, romantic, and profoundly moving novel, set in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and Los Angeles in the 1950s, about a lonely young man, a beautiful widow, and the amnesiac soldier whose puzzling case binds them together even as it tears them apart.

In 1921, two young Americans meet in Verdun, the city in France where one of the most devastating battles of the war was waged. Tom is an orphan from Chicago, a former ambulance driver now gathering bones from the battlefield; Sarah is an expatriate from Boston searching for the husband who wandered off from his division and hasn't been seen since. Quickly, the two fall into a complicated affair against the ghostly backdrop of the ruined city. Months later, Sarah and Tom meet again at the psychiatric ward of an Italian hospital, drawn there by the appearance of a mysterious patient the doctors call Douglas Fairbanks (after the silent film actor)--a shell-shocked soldier with no memory of who he is. At the hospital, Tom and Sarah are joined by Paul, an Austrian journalist with his own interest in the amnesiac. Each is keeping a secret; each has been shaken by the horrors of war. Decades later, Tom, now a successful screenwriter, encounters Paul by chance in LA, still grappling with the questions raised by this gorgeous and incisive novel: How to begin again after unfathomable trauma? How to love after so much loss? And who, in the end, was Douglas Fairbanks?

From the bone-strewn fields of Verdun to the bombed-out cafés of Paris, from the riot-torn streets of Bologna to the riotous parties of 1950s Hollywood, The Verdun Affair is a riveting tale of romance, grief, and the far-reaching consequences of a single lie.

Praise for The Verdun Affair

"The Verdun Affair is ravishingly beautiful, and as much about love as about war. Nick Dybek is a storyteller of great power. I found myself drawn in immediately, believing the place, the characters, everything in his magnificently woven story. If there's any justice, this novel will be widely read and recognized. I absolutely adored it." --Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

"Sometimes the true battle begins only after the fighting is over. In this case, it's the struggle to regain feeling, memory, and love in a landscape where verdancy can flourish again over graves and trenches and bones, but not over the craters of a wounded spirit. In the end, only a story can do that, but it must be as rich and poignant and compelling as Nick Dybek's immersive and atmospheric The Verdun Affair. The meaning in life often goes AWOL, and we look to our great writers--writers like Nick Dybek--to bring it back." --Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master's Son and Fortune Smiles

"The Verdun Affair is an intensely gripping story set in the immediate aftermath of war. From a still-smoldering battlefield, Nick Dybek conjures a sweeping saga of secrets, lies, mistaken identity, love and betrayal. This is the kind of book you can't put down." -- Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn

"The Verdun Affair is a masterful, sweeping novel of love and war and the way we reconstruct ourselves and our stories after everything has come apart. Nick Dybek is a vivid storyteller, and this is a beautiful and exciting book." -- Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except all of Us

"I am still haunted by the images of war so deftly conjured in the midst of an elegiac love story. Dybek writes with a commanding sense of story and language. This novel will not let you go." --Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Summer Before The War

"Love, war, the mysteries of who we are -- it's all in The Verdun Affair. A masterful novel that will fizz your brain and enchant your heart." -- David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

"A haunting, beautiful, and wholly absorbing book, that is at once a gripping story of war, a poignant coming of age, and a bittersweet romance. Dybek conjures the time period with elegance and visceral detail. I didn't want it to end!" --Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles and Circe

Nick Dybek is a recipient of a Granta New Voices selection, a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, and a Maytag Fellowship. He received a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from The Iowa Writers' Workshop. He teaches at Oregon State University. He is the author of When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man and The Verdun Affair.

Event date: 
Friday, June 29, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Verdun Affair Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781501191763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 12th, 2018

When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594486562
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 2nd, 2013