The Word On The Street

‘Interventions,’ a tribute to printed books

In this age of e-books, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo has teamed up with one of his daughters, artist Kate Russo, to create a tribute to the physical book. “Interventions” (Down East), a boxed set of four slim paperbacks by Richard, is a pleasure to hold. It contains the stories, “Horseman” and “The Whore’s Child”; the memoir “High and Dry,” which appeared in Granta; and the previously unpublished novella “Intervention” about a realtor in Maine. Each volume has a work by Kate (example above) on the cover and inside is a postcard-size print by her.

Both Russos live in Maine but have ties to Boston. Richard spends winters in an apartment in the city, and Kate interned at Gallery NAGA on Newbury Street.

Father and daughter will discuss their collaboration at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Road, Newton Centre.

Hellen Keller ‘In Love’


In 1916, when 37-year-old Helen Keller was living in Wrentham, she fell in love with a younger man named Peter Fagan. The two had grown close when he filled in as her secretary, and they planned to elope.

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When Keller’s mother found out about the couple’s plans, she immediately threw Fagan out of the house. Eighteen months later Fagan married another woman with whom he had five children. Keller never married.

With her new novel “Helen Keller in Love,” Rosie Sultan of Brookline explores that chapter of Keller’s life and the conflict between Keller’s drive for self-determination, especially in matters of the heart, and the fierce control teacher Anne Sullivan Macy and Keller’s mother exerted over her life.

Letters from the Keller-Fagan love affair were destroyed in a house fire so Sultan looked elsewhere for insights about the romance, combing through biographies of Keller as well as Keller’s correspondence with Macy and other people. Sultan changed some places and dates yet she makes it clear in the afterword that her work of fiction is informed by a wealth of facts. One of her important finds was a letter to Keller from one of Fagan’s grown daughters, who was curious about a photo of Keller that she found among her father’s possessions.

Authors Club award winners

“Binocular Vision,” a story collection by Edith Pearlman of Brookline, and “Exposed,” a young adult novel by Kimberly Marcus, have won honors from the Boston Authors Club. Pearlman’s book, which has won a passel of prizes, is this year’s winner of the Julia Ward Howe Award, named for a co-founder of the club, which dates to 1899. Marcus, who lives in Dartmouth, will receive the Young Readers Award for her book about a teen friendship gone awry. The club will honor the winners at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, at the Boston Public Library.

Coming out


 “The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School — Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More”by Haley Kilpatrick and Whitney Joiner (Free Press)

“The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin”by Bob Harper with Greg Critser (Ballantine)

“A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook” by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer (Bantam)

Pick of the week

Phil Wilcox of Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain recommends “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America” by Colin Woodard (Viking): “Woodard sinks his teeth into everything from dialects and traditions to battles over land, affluence, and clout to paint us as a country without any single national culture. In Woodard’s analysis, the ‘melting pot’ concept becomes an engine of change that makes America the modern miracle it is.”

Jan Gardner can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JanLGardner.