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Author Archive: "Heidi Durrow"

Susan Nussbaum: The Powells.com Interview

Susan Nussbaum's debut novel, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, is, as Rosellen Brown says, "a celebration of strength, dignity, and the cathartic pleasure of telling it like it is."

Set in a nursing home for young adults with disabilities, Good Kings Bad Kings mines the lives of seven characters: a diverse group of young people and their caregivers. Nussbaum, who is an award-winning playwright, masterfully channels the voices of her characters, including a disabled Hispanic teen trying to find her way after losing the grandmother who raised her, a wheelchair-bound woman who is seeking new love and new meaning in her life, and a young man who wants to enjoy living and loving independent of any institution. They may inhabit a world unfamiliar to many, but the core of who they are, the heart of their joys and suffering, are intensely universal. Yes, this novel will make you ache, but in the very best way.

Good Kings Bad Kings is a marvel that does what the best fiction does. As Barbara Kingsolver, the founder of the PEN/Bellwether Prize, explains: "Fiction...creat[es] empathy in a reader's heart for the theoretical stranger." Thanks to Nussbaum, ...


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