WashU Professor & Novelist Kathryn Davis Debuts Memoir Aurelia, Aurelia at the High Low with Left Bank Books

Left Bank Books welcomes Washington University professor and novelist Kathryn Davis, who will discuss the first work of nonfiction by one of our most inventive novelists, Aurelia, Aurélia: A Memoir, in person at the High Low literary arts cafe and virtually on our Facebook Live Page at 7 pm CT on Thursday, April 14th. Join us in person or on our Facebook Live Page and order a SIGNED copy of Aurelia, Aurélia: A Memoir from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores! Davis will be in conversation with David Schuman, director of the MFA program at Washington University in St. Louis.

**Proof of vaccination and mask will be required for entry to the in-person event.** Guests will need to bring a photo ID AND either their physical vaccination card or a photo of their vaccination card.

Kathryn Davis will sign copies ahead of the event available for purchase at the event or online (for pick up or for mail out).

Kathryn Davis is the author of six novels. She has received the Kafka Prize, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lannan Foundation Literary Award. She teaches at Washington University and lives in Vermont and St. Louis, Missouri.

An eerily dreamlike memoir, and the first work of nonfiction by one of our most inventive novelists.

Aurelia, Aurelia begins on a boat. The author, sixteen years old, is traveling to Europe at an age when one can “try on personae like dresses.” She has the confidence of a teenager cultivating her de ella’s earliest obsessions –Woolf, Durrell, Bergman–sure of her maturity de ella, sure of the life that awaits her. Soon she finds herself in a Greece far drearier than the Greece of fantasy, “climbing up and down the steep paths every morning with the real old women, looking for kindling.”

Kathryn Davis’s hypnotic new book is a meditation on the way imagination shapes life, and how life, as it moves forward, shapes the imagination. At its center is the death of her husband, Eric. The book unfolds as a study of their marriage, its deep joys, and stinging frustrations; it is also a book about time, the inexorable events that determine beginnings and endings. The concerns that Mark Davis’s fiction are recognizable here–fateful voyages, an intense sense of place, the unexpected union of the magical and the real–but the vehicle itself is utterly new.

Aurelia, Aurélia explodes the conventional bounds of memoir. It is an astonishing accomplishment.

“As a fan of her novels, I knew what to expect from Kathryn Davis: the beautiful prose, the depth of thought, the originality, the wit. But I was not prepared to be as moved as I was reading her intensely poignant memoir. She has a gift for writing about the most difficult subjects with honesty, precision, and grace, and though much of it is heartbreaking Aurelia, Aurélia made me rejoice.” –Sigrid Nunez

“This is simply an incomparable book. Kathryn Davis has created what feels like a parallel plane of existence where lucky strangers–readers–are allowed to briefly visit.” –Heidi Julavits

“[Aurelia, Aurélia is] like one of those remote places populated by landrace flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on earth. . . . [Kathryn Davis] has written a memoir that mimics the timeless quality of the episodes that give meaning to life. Aurelia, Aurélia doesn’t care for the constraints of melody, but is nonetheless an entrancing song.”–Molly Young, The New York Times

For the in-person event, the presentation and conversation will start at 7 pm at the High Low, 3301 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103. Vaccination and masks are required for in-person attendees.

You can watch live on Left Bank’s YouTube channel. To participate on Facebook, log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books’ Facebook Live Page, and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins). You can watch on either location without logging in, but in order to comment or interact with the program, you must be logged in.

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