Image of Books by Nancy Rubin Stuart ’67 MAT, Tory Henwood Hoen ’06, and David Shields ’78
Photo: Erik Gould
The Arts

Fresh Ink for September–October 2022
Books by Nancy Rubin Stuart ’67 MAT, Tory Henwood Hoen ’06, and David Shields ’78

By Edward Hardy / September–October 2022
August 24th, 2022

Poor Richard’s Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the
Founding Father
by Nancy Rubin Stuart ’67 MAT (Beacon Press)

In this nuanced look at Benjamin Franklin’s romantic relationships, Stuart writes that Franklin “privately wavered between passion and prudence.” The book centers on Deborah Read, Franklin’s common law wife for 44 years, a sharp businesswoman who ran a general store, took over Franklin’s affairs when he was abroad, and raised their daughter Sally and Franklin’s out-of-wedlock son, William. But Franklin had other passions, including Margaret Stevenson, his London landlady, and during his years in France, the younger Madame Brillon and the older widow Madame Helvétius. Stuart aptly highlights the women’s personalities as well as the constraints and complexities of the times.

The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen ’06 (St. Martin’s Press)

Early on in this lively rom-com satire Ursula Bryrne, 35, a single Manhattan brand manager, is lunching with a friend when she wonders, “Is love actually about specificity?” She signs up for
the Arc, a stealthy dating service which for $40,500 will corral all the available data points, including your neural activity, sleep habits, and genetics, to find your ideally optimized partner. Ursula matches with Rafael Banks, a 42-year-old lawyer who is ready to commit. Bliss ensues—but there’s a glitch in the data. This debut comes with a few surprising point-of-view shifts, and the relationships turn out to be more complicated than the algorithms.

The Very Last Interview by David Shields ’78 (New York Review Books)

Always happy to unsettle a familiar form, here Shields, in his 23rd book, takes on the interview. Actually it’s more the idea of the interview as in this brief, entertaining read you’ll find only questions. The book is a winnowed compilation of the 2,700 questions, some more reasonable than others, that Shields has been asked over his four-decade career. These have been sifted into quick chapters, including “Process,” “Childhood,” “Brokenness,” “Paternity,” “Comedy,” and “Next.” There’s also a chance, as the jacket copy suggests, that Shields has rewritten a few to give the book more of a trajectory. The result is a connect-the-dots kind of autobiography, sometimes prickly, often deeply funny.

Alumni Fiction

Jackal: A Novel by Erin E. Adams ’09 (Bantam)

Hold Up the Head of Holofernes by Carol Bonomo Albright ’70 AM (Tough Poets Press)

Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress ’13 (Penguin)

The Deer by Dashiel Carrera ’17 (Deep Vellum)

Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters by Maya Sonenberg ’84 AM (Univ. of Notre Dame)

On the Wings of a Hummingbird by Susan Mills ’82 (Apprentice House Press/Loyola Univ.)


Alumni Nonfiction

An Unlasting Home by Mai Al-Nakib ’04 PhD (Mariner Books)

Sparks into Fire: Revitalizing Teacher Practice Through Collective Learning by Young Whan Choi ’97 (Teachers College Press)

Sensory Futures: Deafness and Cochlear Implant Infrastructures in India by Michele Ilana Friedner ’00 (Univ. of Minnesota)

The Other Mother by Rachel M. Harper ’94 (Penguin)

This Flame Within: Iranian Revolutionaries in the United States by Manijeh Moradian ’97 (Duke)

Vitamin C: A 500-Year Scientific Biography from Scurvy to Pseudoscience by Stephen M. Sagar ’68, ’70 MMSc (Prometheus)

Lifelines: The Traffic of Trauma by Harris Solomon ’07 AM, ’11 PhD (Duke)

Time for Everything: My Curious Life by Joseph D. Steinfield ’61 (Bauhan)

Museum Metamorphosis by Nico Wheadon ’06 (American Alliance of Museums)

The Seven Gifts by David B. Whitacre ’84 (HenschelHAUS)


Alumni Poetry

Whaddyacall the Wind? by Annie Lanzillotto ’86 (Bordighera Press)

Questions from Outer Space by Diane Thiel ’88, ’90 MFA (Red Hen Press)

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Related Issue
September–October 2022