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  • Writers In The Loft Presents Claire Messud with her latest work The Burning Girl

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    September 05, 2017
    WRITERS IN THE LOFT presents
    New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor’s Children
     
    CLAIRE MESSUD
    with her latest work
    THE BURNING GIRL
     
    Tuesday, September 12, at 7 pm
     
    Recently profiled in THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE and featured on NPR WEEKEND EDITION

    “Messud shines a tender gaze on her protagonists and sustains an elegiac tone as she conveys the volatile emotions of adolescent behavior and the dawning of female vulnerability. . . . emotionally gripping.” Publishers Weekly
     
    “Long before the recent success of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy …  Messud was narrating these stories with an unusual intensity — and quietly making a case for women’s interiority as a subject worthy of the most serious examination.”Ruth Franklin, New York Times Magazine
     
    “...emotionally intense and quietly haunting.”
    Kirkus Reviews, starred review
     
    “Messud is psychologically astute about her characters and about the competing social and familial pressures . . . that make adolescent friendship and its dissolution so fraught.”—Boston Globe
     
    What: The Music Hall Loft welcomes to the stage New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud, who will talk about her latest work, THE BURNING GIRL. It follows two girls, Julia and Cassie, who, despite their very different family lives, have been friends since nursery school. But as the pair enter adolescence, their paths diverge. Julia, supported by her parents, aspires to become an actress and embraces opportunities at their school, while Cassie, raised by a single mother, focuses her energy on clothes and parties and dates Julia’s longtime crush. When Cassie takes off in search of her real father, Julia realizes that she is the only person who can rescue her friend. Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, THE BURNING GIRL gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.
     
    When/Where:             Tuesday, September 12, at 7 pm
                                      The Music Hall Loft
                                        131 Congress Street
                                        Portsmouth, NH 03801
     
    Tickets: The ticket package for Writers in the Loft: Claire Messud  on Tuesday, September 12, at 7 pm, is $40 ($38 members). In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of THE BURNING GIRL ($25.95 hardcover), a bar beverage, author presentation, Q+A, and book signing meet-and-greet.  Packages can be purchased online at TheMusicHall.org, over the phone at 603.436.2400 or in person at the B2W Box Office at the Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street.
     
    About the Author: Claire Messud is a recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The author of five previous works of fiction including her most recent novel, The Woman Upstairs, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her family.
     
    About Writers in the Loft
    Akin to The Music Hall’s anchor literary series, Writers on a New England Stage, Writers in the Loft features bestselling authors in a smaller, more intimate space. The series brings audiences today’s top authors, the best of fiction and nonfiction, and award-winners across categories. The evening package includes a reserved seat and bar beverage, author presentation and Q+A, a copy of the book, and a meet-and-greet book signing with the featured writer.
     
    Series Sponsor:  RMC Research Corporation
    Contributing Partner:  The University of New Hampshire
    Season Sponsors:  Carey & Giampa Realtors;  Portwalk Place; The River House restaurant
     
    About The Music Hall
    The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus - one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service’s Save America's Treasures Program, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner, recently named "best performing arts venue" by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence.
     
    Web: www.TheMusicHall.org | Twitter: @MusicHall | Facebook: /musichall | YouTube: /musichallnh
     
    “The crown jewel of Portsmouth’s cultural scene”- Yankee Magazine

    “The beating cultural heart of New Hampshire's seacoast” - Boston Globe
     
    For more information, contact:
    Margaret Talcott, Producer
    The Music Hall                                                                            
    mtalcott@themusichall.org
    603-433-3100x5013
    or Patricia Lynch, Executive Producer
    plynch@themusichall.org
     
    PRAISE for THE BURNING GIRL
     
    “If you love when a favorite writer risks new narrative ground, Claire Messud nails it.” —Elle Magazine
     
    “Spectacular!” —Glamour
     
    “Messud shines a tender gaze on her protagonists and sustains an elegiac tone as she conveys the volatile emotions of adolescent behavior and the dawning of female vulnerability. . . . [T]his novel is haunting and emotionally gripping.” Publishers Weekly
     
    “Messud’s entrancing, gorgeously incisive coming-of-age drama astutely tracks the sharpening perceptions of an exceptionally eloquent young woman navigating heartbreak and regret and realizing that one can never fathom ‘the wild, unknowable interior lives’ of others, not even someone you love.”Booklist, starred review
     
    “[Messud] displays uncommon skill in depicting the conflicting interests and emotions of the tween years. . . . [T]he narrative has broad appeal for teens and adults alike.”Library Journal
     
    “[Messud] is an absolute master storyteller and bafflingly good writer. . . . It is that combination of imagination and skill that makes THE BURNING GIRL exceptional. . . . It amplifies that subtle, piercing shift between Cassie and Julia, made brighter by passages of sheer splendorous prose.”Rebecca Carroll, Los Angeles Times
    “[A] masterwork of psychological fiction. . . . Messud teases readers with a psychological mystery, withholding information and then cannily parceling it out.”Julia Klein, Chicago Tribune
    “Ms. Messud is at her most incisive in exploring the volatile transition from childhood to adolescence.”Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
    “Elegantly constructed… Messud’s gift is to understand the nuances of female relationships and believe that they are worthy of sustained and unhurried attention.”—Evening Standard
    “Messud is psychologically astute about her characters and about the competing social and familial pressures . . . that make adolescent friendship and its dissolution so fraught.”—Boston Globe
    “Thoughtful. . . . THE BURNING GIRL asks us to look hard at what we imagine about others and their lives before we take action or profess friendship. It’s an unflinching examination of how little we can do to save anyone else.”—Newsday
     
    “With characteristically lucid prose, Messud perfectly captures the agonizing social insecurities of middle school. . . . [B]y the novel’s closing pages it packs an emotional wallop. Emotionally intense and quietly haunting.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    “In Claire Messud’s THE BURNING GIRL, the ruin of a nineteenth-century asylum stokes the imaginations  of two small-town Massachusetts preteens, whose quicksilver alliance is fatally tested by adolescence and a culture in which there are too many ways for young women to disappear.”—Vogue
    “[Messud] has specialized in creating unusual female characters with ferocious, imaginative inner lives. . . . Long before the recent success of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy, which tells of the complex, often vexed, lifelong friendship between two women, Messud was narrating these stories with an unusual intensity — and quietly making a case for women’s interiority as a subject worthy of the most serious examination.”Ruth Franklin, New York Times Magazine
    “Slim but impactful . . . . THE BURNING GIRL asks how well we can ever know our closest confidants and answers its own question with every refined page.” — Vanity Fair
    “[An] intense coming-of-age novel. . . . Messud captures the complicated nature of contemporary adolescence through a nuanced portrait of childhood love and loyalty deteriorating under the pressure of approaching adulthood.”Jane Ciabattari, BBC
     
    PRAISE for THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS
     
    “Messud writes about happiness, and about infatuation—about love—more convincingly than any author I’ve encountered in years.” Lionel Shriver, NPR
     
    “Messud’s prose grabs the reader by the collar.” Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review
     
    “Fantastically smart.” The Washington Post
     
    “Riveting. . . . Messud is adept at evoking complex psychological territory. . . . She is interested in the identities that women construct for themselves, and in the maddening chasm that often divides intensity of aspiration from reality of achievement.” The New Yorker
     
    The Woman Upstairs dazzles. . . . [Messud is] among our greatest contemporary writers.” The Miami Herald
     
    “A work of such great emotional velocity.”Chicago Tribune (Editor’s Choice)
     
    “A liberation. Messud’s prose grabs the reader by the collar. . . . She has assembled an intricate puzzle of self-belief and self-doubt, showing the peril of seeking your own image in someone else’s distorted mirror—or even, sometimes, in your own.”The New York Times Book Review
     
    “Exhilarating. . . . After the final powerful paragraphs, in which Nora howls in galvanized fury, throw it down and have a drink, or a dreamless nap. Don’t be surprised if you then pick it back up and start all over again. A” Entertainment Weekly
     
    “Startling: a psychological and intellectual thriller.” Los Angeles Times
     
    “Mesmerizing. . . . While it was Messud’s achingly beautiful characters crystallizing midlife that drew me in, it was her grotesque portrait of an inner life free to swell, untethered to the realities of children, a spouse and a mortgage that made me think.” The Huffington Post
     
    “Corrosively funny. . . . At a time at which there seems to be plenty for creative women to be angry about, Nora’s rant feels refreshing.” Vogue
     
    “Engrossing. . . . Think of [Nora] as the woman who leans out: the A student who puts others’ needs first. . . . Through the ensuing drama, which includes one of the more shocking betrayals in recent fiction, Messud raises questions about women’s still-circumscribed roles and the price of success.” People (A People’s Pick)
     
    “A supremely well-crafted page-turner with a shocker of an ending.” The Boston Globe
     
    “[Messud has] a literary critic’s knack for marshaling and reverberating themes and, most crucially, a broad and deep empathy. . . . The Woman Upstairs is first-rate: It asks unsettling, unanswerable questions.” The Denver Post
     
    “[Messud] knows how to make fiction out of the clash of civilizations. Her heroines . . . inhabit the inky space between continents, physical and generational. . . . The Woman Upstairs is not a pretty read, but that is precisely what makes it so hard to put down.” The Economist
     
    “[Here] are tart meditations on the creative impulse and the artistic ego, on the interplay between reality and fantasy and the often-pitiful limits of human communication. . . . Smoldering.” Bloomberg Businessweek
     
    “Spellbinding, psychologically acute. . . . How much of Nora’s fantasy is true . . . is the real subject of Messud’s novel. . . . Exquisitely rendered.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
     
    “Hypnotic. . . . In Nora, Messud has conjured a self-contradictory yet acutely familiar character; we’ve all met someone like her, if we aren’t like her ourselves. . . . Nora does not become monstrous or pathological or even absurd. This, in a way, is her tragedy.” Salon
     
    “Messud is a tremendously smart, accomplished writer. . . . What the novel does, in spades, is give a voiceless woman a chance to howl.” The Christian Science Monitor
     
    “Bracing. . . . In this fierce, feminist novel, the reader serves as Nora’s confessor, and it’s a pleasurable job to listen to someone so eloquent, whose insights about how women are valued in society and art are sharp and righteous.” Dallas News

    “A trenchant exploration into the mercenary nature of artistic creation. . . . Destined to become a cultural benchmark.” Wall Street Journal
    Contact:
    Margaret Talcott, Producer
    mtalcott@themusichall.org