‘unwed mothers’ and other outlaws: April 28 reading/discussion at Portland’s In Other Words feminist community center

I’m excited to be reading from my novel The Rescuer’s Path and leading a very related discussion, “‘Unwed mothers’ and other outlaws: Nonconforming mothers, single pregnancy, social activism–then and now,” at the newly revamped In Other Words Feminist Community Center, 14 NE Killingsworth, Portland, Oregon, on April 28, 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Never solely a bookstore, and now more than ever a center for community activities, In Other Words is a most inviting place for this reading and discussion of issues ranging from the social pressures on “unwed mothers” pre-Roe to the hardships confronted by impoverished single-parent families today, from the risks confronting antiwar and civil rights activists of “the Sixties” to the dangers, present and to come, for Occupiers and others who confront today’s militarized police, privatized prisons, and dismantling of basic Constitutional protections.

Ursula Le Guin calls The Rescuer’s Path “exciting, physically vivid, and romantic,” and Small Press Review says “the writing is lyrical and poetic, the characters vividly drawn, and the story captivating.” “I could not top reading this novel,” notes Flannery O’Connor Award winner Carole Glickfeld, and acclaimed Portland author Cheryl Strayed says The Rescuer’s Path “held me from the first page to the last.”

In The Rescuer’s Path, a Holocaust survivor’s young daughter finds and aids a wounded fugitive, the half-Arab antiwar leader suspected of a lethal truck bombing. The two become friends, then lovers, and eventually flee the FBI to seeming refuge in the Colorado Rockies. But, after a brief idyll, pursuit closes in and leads to tragedy. In the aftermath, the couple’s baby daughter is yielded at birth for adoption; thirty years later, in the shadows of 9/11, this grown daughter seeks the truth about her heritage.

With flashbacks to Holocaust rescue, scenes from a 1980s-1990s Berkeley marriage, refugee family tales, and basic issues of mortality and of righteous living, The Rescuer’s Path provides lively meat for reading and discussion.

Spring Oregon Readings–The Rescuer’s Path

You are invited!

Three Oregon readings now scheduled for The Rescuer’s Path, my new novel of the antiwar movement, the struggle for justice, an adoption reunion, and the love between a Holocaust survivor’s sheltered daughter and an anguished half-Arab peace activist suspected by the FBI of a lethal truck bombing:

The Rescuer’s Path: photo of cover

Hood River Library, Hood River, Oregon, April 1, 2012, 2 p.m. Cosponsored by the library and Waucoma Books, Hood River, Oregon.

In Other Words–Women’s Bookstore and Community Center, Portland, Oregon, April 28, 2012, 5-6:30 p.m. Reading, with discussion “Unwed Mothers and Other Outlaws–1960s and the Present Day”

White Salmon Valley Library, White Salmon, Washington, May 12, 2-4 p.m. Three Regional Authors Read.

Small Press Review praises The Rescuer’s Path

I’m happy to tell you that the prestigious and nationally distributed Small Press Review praises my new novel, The Rescuer’s Path, very glowingly–mostly–in the Jan.-Feb. 2012 issue. Here’s the review; enjoy!

Small Press Review—review by Marie C. Sanchez

The Rescuer’s Path

by Paula Friedman (2012; 195 pp; Pa; $15.95; Plain View Press)

From the first page, Friedman illuminates a world near Washington DC of gullies and game trails and Gavin Hareem, a Nixon-era wounded antiwar leader who is accused of the deadly bombing of an army truck. While Malca Bernovski rides a horse off-trail, she encounters the wounded half-Syrian fugitive and, by aiding him, sets off a blossoming romance that sends them both on a desperate struggle for survival and justice. The sheltered Malca, 16-year old daughter of a Holocaust survivor, reveals surprising resources and choices.

If you’ve ever wanted to enter the mind of a pacifist who eventually turns to violence, this is it. Gavin alternates between reality and insanity, clarity and confusion, brilliance and absurdity, striking just the right notes of believability.

Years later, the lovers’ child searches for her parents and the story moves seamlessly from the nation’s capital to the Colorado Rockies, from the Warsaw Ghetto to post-9/11 San Francisco.

Time itself appears among the major characters. Deft strokes unobtrusively fill in the couple’s histories without slowing the story, and elegant leaps propel the story forward years and decades. However, Friedman’s adroit touch fades toward the end where the treatment of time feels more like gaps than well-timed jumps.

The couple’s daughter searching out her birth parents in the last third of the book starts out promising, but at the end, seemed unfinished. The treatment of daughter and time at the end of the book seemed disappointingly lackluster, given such an incandescent beginning.

That said, the writing is lyrical and poetic, the places finely detailed, the characters vividly drawn and the story captivating.

—JanFeb 2012 SPR—

In the New World–The Rescuer’s Path is now available

The day of debut, January 1, 2012. The day of true debut, January 9, 2012–The Rescuer’s Path is now published (Plain View Press, $15.95). The Rescuer’s Path is available for online purchase through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.,  and listed on LibraryThing, already reviewed on MainstreamFiction and various other blogs, soon to be in several print publications.

“Exciting, physically vivid, and romantic”–Ursula K. Le Guin. “I couldn’t stop reading this novel”–Carole L. Glickfeld. “Vivid, humane, and wise”–Cheryl Strayed. Many other strong, positive blurbs by admired women authors.

“A wonderful family epic”–Harriet Klausner, MainstreamFiction. Other strong, positive reviews by other bloggers. . . .

Is this what I had always in mind? Imagining The New World of Being an Author (with a published novel), is this what I expected? Life going along afterward just as before? Some congratulations, much enthusiasm from friends and acquaintances, mixed bookstore reactions, mixed reviewer reactions (from promised reviews to brushoffs), constant work-beyond-work twelve hours a day on p.r.–this is the great golden ring, the nirvana-in-the-real-world, (etc. etc.), I had in mind?

Well, not exactly, no. Imagine all the circus days of childhood, all the glory days of hope, the “State Fair” (40s movie) happy-happy here-together, over the top, unending joy of blossom springtime, weddingcake festivities of . . . oh you know, you get it, you imagine, you can image, cue the rising theme, the music, soundtrack of the glorious, the successful, the most-fully-reached, a-c-h-i-e-v-e-d in glory, whatnot and all that, forever life.

Oh yes. Well it’s a book–a good book. About a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who, in 1971 Washington DC, rides in a park and finds and helps a wounded man, a fugitive, a Syrian refugee’s son, who is the antiwar leader hunted for the lethal bombing of a US Army truck. They turn distrust to trust, to friendship, to love, but police pursue . . .  You get it, right? But not yet–years go by, their child is given up, grows up, seeks for her origins, the days of 9/11 loom . . .

If you like it, say so on the Amazon, LibraryThing, Goodreads, etc. ratings/rankings/reader-reviewing sites. I’d love people to know of this good book, to read it. We live in this world, we writers and readers, ours to know is real.

In new antiwar novel, Jewish-Arab couple flee implacable police

New, progressive, and a page-turner, The Rescuer’s Path recounts a tale of inter-ethnic love and the struggle for justice. The Rescuer’s Path is forthcoming January 1, 2012, from Plain View Press and available through amazon.com, barnes&noble.com, plainviewpress.net, etc., and by bookstore order, beginning in mid-January. Retail price is $15.95

I’ll be reading from The Rescuer’s Path at the Ballard Library in Seattle on Feb. 9, with readings and booksignings planned for early spring in the Columbia River Gorge area and elsewhere. Contact paula@paula-friedman.com if you’d like to arrange a reading and/or signing for your reading group or organization.

The Rescuer’s Path tells what happens, in Nixon-era Washington DC, when a Holocaust survivor’s young daughter discovers and aids a wounded fugitive, the half-Arab antiwar activist who is the prime suspect in the lethal bombing of a US Army truck. Overcoming hesitancies and distrust, the two young people become friends, fall in love, and flee cross-country, pursued by an implacable FBI. High in the Rockies, they discover each other’s depths of love and their own real courage, but the pursuit soon closes in.

Three decades later, in the shadow of 9/11, the young couple’s birth daughter, raised by adoptive parents, searches for the truth about her origins.

Ursula K. Le Guin calls The Rescuer’s Path “Exciting, physically vivid, and romantic.” Flannery O’Connor Award–winning author Carole L. Glickfeld says “I could not stop reading this novel–I loved it.” Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Torch, notes, “Vivid, humane, and wise, The Rescuer’s Path held me from its first page to its last.” “A story of what it means to do the right thing,” says Heather Sharfeddin, author of novels of today’s rural west; “These characters will break your heart and put it back together again.”

With our own hands

Since we were kids, we’ve each heard: “Most people can never be real Writers!” Just as we’ve heard that most people cannot be musicians, cannot learn algebraic topology, cannot “really” embrace their full feelings, cannot “actually” cause much political change . . . Well, you know who such cautions benefit, don’t you? What the marxists call “the owner class,” that’s who—meaning the Big Owners, the folks who give their kids a publishing house or enough stock to manage a minor country, for a birthday present—the folks who are much happier if we don’t take our (political) destinies in our own hands.

Let’s not listen to such discouragement. Let’s, in fact, take our writing (and other) destinies, to the extent humanly possible, into our own hands. And minds and hearts. And share this empowerment, and mutual encouragement, and skills tips; let’s thus strengthen one another and our writings.

Obviously, we still have to learn and polish our techniques, our skills, our knowledge. In fact, for any of usl, it is necessary, beyond “talent,” to write, to learn the guidelines of grammars and styles, to read the finest of writings, and to write, and to write, and to write.

Welcome to my blog. Here we can discuss the struggles and possibilities of writing and literature, writers and others in the world. This is a new blogsite, begun as my debut novel, The Rescuer’s Path, approaches publication (2012, Plain View Press, $15.95—available beginning in January 2012 through the press and through Amazon, B&N, other online bookstores, and by order through your local independent bookstore).

The Rescuer’s Path tells what happens in 1971 when a Holocaust survivor’s daughter aids a wounded fugitive, a half-Syrian peace activist wanted in the lethal bombing of a U.S. Army truck, and with him must flee an implacable police and FBI pursuit. Then, years later, in the shadow of 9/11, their grown birthdaughter determines to seek her origins . . .

I want to know about your novels, too—and your writing experiences, tips, and struggles. Soon I hope to post guest blogs here (articles 100 to 400 words), so contact me if you would like to contribute one!