44 Poems For You by Sarah Ruhl ’97 ’01 MFA (Copper Canyon)
Before she became a Tony-nominated playwright and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Sarah Ruhl was a poet. And in this moving, witty debut you’ll find intimate meditations on slowness, marriage, loss and longing, miscarriage, and childhood. They span the time before and after Ruhl became a mother and many were first written for an audience of one, a spouse or a friend, which is how they all came to involve a “you.”
Not Exactly Retired: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps by David Jarmul ’75 (Peace Corps Writers)
Jarmul first served in the Peace Corps in the late 1970s and was stationed in Nepal, where he met his wife, Champa. As he reached his sixties, Jarmul and his wife both felt a longing to serve again, even if they weren’t sure they could leave their careers and comfortable lives to make the leap. What follows is the story of how they crept up on the idea—first with an 11,000-mile, 31-state cross-country trip, then a two-month return to Nepal, and finally a Peace Corps posting in Moldova in Eastern Europe. The result is part love story, part adventure saga, and a guide to finding a fresh act later in life.
The Gringa by Andrew Altschul ’91 (Melville House)
In his ambitious third novel Altschul (Lady Lazarus, Deus Ex Machina) uses the real-life story of Lori Berenson, an American who spent years in a Peruvian prison after falling in with a revolutionary group, as the template for a rich and sprawling narrative. Here Berenson becomes Lenora Gelb, a Stanford grad and activist who arrives in Lima in the 1990s and becomes involved with the revolutionary Cuarta Filosofia. Years later Andres, the novel’s narrator, is assigned to write a profile of Gelb and tries to answer the question of whether or not she really was a terrorist. It becomes a murky pursuit as Andres faces personal turmoil and his project veers into the weeds between fact and fiction.