Books

new england literary news

‘Nepal’ book honored

Gurung girls of Barpak village, Nepal, 1984. From “Nepal: 1975-2011”
Kevin Bubriski/Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University
Gurung girls of Barpak village, Nepal, 1984. From “Nepal: 1975-2011”

Vermont resident Kevin Bubriski was a 20-year-old Peace Corps volunteer when he landed in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1975. “The valley floor was a brilliant green carpet of terraced fields, their water reflecting the sky, deep blue with bright, towering cumulus clouds,” Bubriski writes in “Nepal: 1975-2011” (Radius/Peabody Museum).

For four years Bubriski worked on water projects and wandered the country. After he returned to the States and pursued a career as a documentary photographer, he found himself regularly drawn back to Nepal. “The camera was witness to both rapid change and timeless ceremony,” he writes in “Nepal.” The coffee-table book, published in 2014, was among the books recognized by Bookbuilders of Boston for excellence in design earlier this month at the 58th New England Book Show.

“Nepal,” which was on display near the entrance to the show at Symphony Hall, is a striking volume that functions as journalism and art. Black and white photographs from the early years give way to color ones from more recent trips. There are families on foot and horseback, young men on motorcycles, the old ways and the new. In the 1970s a telegraph assistant pedaled a stationary bike to generate electric power to transmit messages. Now cellphones with cameras are common and villagers e-mail and Facebook with friends and relatives around the world.

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The rise of the Internet enabled Bubriski to quickly reach his friends after the earthquake in April. He last visited Nepal in January and plans to return in June. In an e-mail he wrote that his “hope is that the tragedy of the earthquake has brought people together within communities and across the country.”

Brook Farm talk and tour

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Little remains of West Roxbury’s Brook Farm, the utopian community founded in 1841 and disbanded six years later. Peter Drummey of the Massachusetts Historical Society will explain the farm’s place in the nation’s literary and intellectual history when he gives a talk at the site at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday. It will be followed by a tour of the National Historic Site. The event is sold-out.

Conversations in Provincetown

Twenty Summers, which presents entertainment in Provincetown’s historic Hawthorne Barn between mid-May and mid-June, has a starry literary line-up. National Book Award-winning authors M.T. Anderson and Julia Glass will give readings about nautical wanderlust and a chamber orchestra will perform on Saturday. The following evening Adam Gopnik and Michael Cunningham will take on the topics of parenting in a foreign country, learning to drive, and channeling Virginia Woolf. Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields will be in conversation with fellow poet Rives for “Cheating at Scrabble Without the Internet” on June 5. Barney Frank will talk about his book, “Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) on June 7. For ticket prices and the full schedule, go to www.20summers.org.

Coming out

 “Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother’s Life with a Daughter’s Anorexia” by Clare B. Dunkle (Chronicle)

 “A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me: Stories and a Novella” by David Gates (Knopf)

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 “Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson (Morrow)

Pick of the Week

Darwin Ellis of Books on the Common in Ridgefield, Conn., recommends “The Book of Aron” by Jim Shepard (Knopf): “Shepard has performed a small miracle in channeling the voice of a young Jewish boy trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. He traces Aron’s progression from country bumpkin and reluctant scholar to a ‘macher’ on the streets of Warsaw, where his cunning and courage prolong the lives of his increasingly oppressed and desperate family.”

Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.