Leah Hager Cohen will join us virtually via Zoom to discuss Strangers and Cousins.
Leah was born in Manhattan and raised at the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens and later in Nyack, New York. She attended Hampshire College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The author of six novels and five works of nonfiction, she is the Barrett Professor of Creative Writing at the College of the Holy Cross.
Strangers and Cousins is a novel about what happens when an already sprawling family hosts an even larger and more chaotic wedding: an entertaining story about family, culture, memory, and community.
In the seemingly idyllic town of Rundle Junction, Bennie and Walter are preparing to host the wedding of their eldest daughter Clem. A marriage ceremony at their beloved, rambling home should be the happiest of occasions, but Walter and Bennie have a secret. A new community has moved to Rundle Junction, threatening the social order and forcing Bennie and Walter to confront uncomfortable truths about the lengths they would go to to maintain harmony.
Meanwhile, Aunt Glad, the oldest member of the family, arrives for the wedding plagued by long-buried memories of a scarring event that occurred when she was a girl in Rundle Junction. As she uncovers details about her role in this event, the family begins to realize that Clem’s wedding may not be exactly what it seemed. Clever, passionate, artistic Clem has her own agenda. What she doesn’t know is that by the end, everyone will have roles to play in this richly imagined ceremony of familial connection-a brood of quirky relatives, effervescent college friends, ghosts emerging from the past, a determined little mouse, and even the very group of new neighbors whose presence has shaken Rundle Junction to its core.
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