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If You Are There

List Price: $16.95

January 9, 2018 | Paperback | 5.7 x 8.7, 368 pages | ISBN 9781619022324
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The historical novel by the author of The Little Russian that follows a young Polish girl through the kitchens and séances of the City of Light, now in paperback

Set in the early 1900s, the novel follows young Lucia Rutkowski who, thanks to the influence of her beloved grandmother, escapes the Warsaw ghetto to work as a kitchen maid in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the bustling city of Paris. Too talented for her lowly position, Lucia is thrown out on the street. Her only recourse is to take a job working for two disorganized, rather poor married scientists so distracted by their work that their house and young child are often neglected. Lucia soon bonds with her eccentric employers, watching as their work with radioactive materials grows increasing noticed by the world, then rising to fame as the great Marie and Pierre Curie.

Soon, all of Paris is alit with the news of an impending visit from Eusapia Palladino, the world’s most famous medium. It is through her now famous employers that Lucia attends Eusapia’s gatherings and eventually falls under the medium’s spell, leaving the Curie household to travel with her to Italy. Ultimately, Lucia is placed directly in the crosshairs of faith versus science–what is more real, the glowing substances of the Curie laboratory or the glowing visions that surround the medium during her séance?

About Susan Sherman

SUSAN SHERMAN is the author of The Little Russian. She is the former Chair of the Art Department of Whittier College and the co-creator of "That's So Raven," one of the most successful television shows for children in the history of the Disney Network.

Praise for If You Are There

"The bold, incandescent descriptions of séances are where Sherman's art truly shines." --Booklist

"Readers interested in the Curies, in the tense interplay of faith, showmanship, and science, and the vibrant expatriate world of 20th-century Europe will enjoy this latest offering by Susan Sherman..." --History Novel Society

"Sherman's tale is a feast of detail and description, from the dangerous drudgery of the Curies' work creating radioactive matter to the trickery behind the table-turning and ectoplasmic effects at the séances." --Kirkus Reviews

"Lush with the landmarks of turn of the century Paris, when the age of reason came head to head with a resurgent fascination with the occult, Susan Sherman's beautiful novel If You Are There provides one pleasure after another, and I couldn't put it down." --Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen, Longlisted for the National Book Award and Finalist for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction

"If You Are There is challenging and yet unpretentious, complex, deliberate, and wholly, completely original. With a street-wise eye for detail and an ear well-tuned to lyricism, Susan Sherman writes with a fundamental empathy for life as it is lived. Her relentless, meticulous prose is unmatched." --Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Hausfrau

"Susan Sherman has created a sympathetic protagonist whose belief in cosmic signs, scientific discovery, and the interconnectedness of humankind is nothing short of magical." --Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers

"The fictional and historical mingle in Sherman's marvelous account of the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie. It is a rare book that is as scientific as it is magical and as magical as it is scientific. This is that book." --Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award

"This splendid novel is about discovery, in its many forms: in science, in love, in ambition, in connection; it celebrates the intersection of the natural world and faith. Sherman explores all of her characters with precise, tender compassion and radiant insight; we move with them through beautifully described turn-of-the-century Europe, as they find their own understanding of love and loss and strength. You will love this unforgettable book." --Karen E. Bender, author of Refund, Finalist for the National Book Award

Praise for The Little Russian
People Magazine's Great New Reads in Fiction
One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of The Year

"If Margaret Mitchell and Isaac Bashevis Singer had a baby, it would be The Little Russian. It's impossible not to be deeply impressed by this sweeping portrait of Russia during the pogroms, but it is even more impossible not to be moved by this fiery and deeply human love story. A moving and brilliantly researched debut, I just loved it." --Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger

"An impressive fiction debut with an epic tale of war's transformative effects on one Russian woman and her family...Sherman succeeds with her epic, sweeping arc and auspicious period setting." --Publishers Weekly

"In The Little Russian, Susan Sherman offers much more than an eloquently gripping narrative set against an explosive backdrop. She is inviting us to consider the too-often unsung heroines of history, the women whose ferocious willpower and dazzling ingenuity can be more potent than gunpowder when it comes to changing the world." --Los Angeles Review of Books

"Moving and smart, The Little Russian is a sweeping tale of survival, loss, love, loyalty, family, religion, racism, and war. Sherman masterfully blends history into fiction, delivering a self-assured, elegant debut." --Victoria Patterson, author of This Vacant Paradise

"Powerful, harrowing, and richly atmospheric, Susan Sherman's unflinching debut novel captures the enduring light of the human spirit when faced with the darkness of unimaginable loss. It's a captivating read told through a voice we won't soon forget." --Ilie Ruby, author of The Language of Trees

"In Sherman's sweeping novel, Berta Alshonsky is a Russian Scarlett O'Hara, surviving the tsarist regime, the first world war, and the Russian revolution with the only weapons available to her--grit and charm. Jewish life in the Ukraine, with its dizzying contrasts of mansions and shtetls, jewelry and pogroms, aristocrats and revolutionaries, is rendered in aching detail in this fabulous debut." --Adrienne Sharp, author of The True Memoirs of Little K

"Susan Sherman led me down the tumultuous streets of Imperial Russia with the mastery of a born storyteller. The world of The Little Russian is so vivid that Berta's journey quickly became my own. I could not put it down." --Oksana Marafioti, author of American Gypsy

"Entrancing, meticulously researched . . . The Little Russian is a masterful study of one woman's fight to stay afloat and alive in an era in which governance was consolidated with oppression and barbarism . . . Sherman keeps us guessing as to whether her heroine can make it over the border to be reunited with her given-up-for-lost Hershel, and we devour the last pages greedily." --Malcolm Forbes, Rain -Taxi

"Detail by luscious detail, Sherman creates a stunning portrait of a young Jewish woman's struggle to survive in turn-of-the-century Russia." --Kathryn Kay, author of The Gilder

"Berta is a girl from a Jewish working-class family in early 20th century Ukraine. She gets a taste of the good life in Moscow but then has to return to her parents' little store. When a handsome wheat trader comes into the store, they fall in love, and she thinks he's her ticket back to the sumptuous life. But she finds that her husband's business was a cover for his real work, smuggling guns to Jews. Her bad decisions lead to some terrifying adventures. Through it all, she remains headstrong, spoiled, and fascinating." --Elaine's Picks, Book Passage

"Sherman's sprawling research carries the book. She weaves the comfort and complacence of the wealthier people together with the grim desperation of the poor, the comforting, sustaining rituals of the Jews together with the hysterical ignorance of the larger society that vents all its terror on them, slaughter together with a sustaining ritual life. Great scenes abound - a deadly stampede to board a train; flights through snow and icy rivers toward some illusion of safety; tender moments of faith and hope." --The Historical Novels Review

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