Excerpt of 2013 Tale pick to be published Saturday

Friday, January 11, 2013 
By Ben Beagle, bbeagle@batavianews.com

An excerpt from the 11th “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project will be published Saturday in print editions of The Daily News.

The section highlights this year’s book selection, “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” by Peter Troy, an epic novel that incorporates the Irish potato famine, the Irish immigration to the United States and the American Civil War.

The excerpt is from chapter one, subtitled “The Hunger,” and begins in County Fermanagh, Ireland, on April 25, 1847. Ethan McOwen is remembering his sister, Aislinn McOwen, who has died as a result of the famine. The siblings liked to re-enact scenes from classic literature and he recalls their recreation of “The Odyssey.”

As the sprawling story develops, Ethan will land in the rough-and-tumble Five Points section of Brooklyn where he discovers a passion for photography and introduce three other distinct characters: Marcella, a society girl from Spain who defies her father to become a passionate Abolitionist; and Mary and Micah, slaves who embark on a tumultuous path to freedom. The story’s settings include Cooperstown and Red Hook.

The four lives unfold in two love stories, which eventually collide when the Civil War brings them all together.

A short interview with Troy and updates on past Tale authors — two are planning to release new books in 2013 — is also included.

Troy’s novel has received strong reviews from professional library journals, including BookList where Margaret Flanagan said Troy’s novel tightly interweaves its “narrative strands into a vivid tapestry of Civil War-era America” and imbues “each character with a distinctive voice and point-of-view, keeping the story line flowing while providing a panoramic overview of a significant juncture in history.”

Readers will also be able to find information on several upcoming Tale programs in Saturday’s Lifestyles/Extra section. The historical talks are scheduled at Richmond Memorial Library and Genesee Community College, beginning in January. Speakers include Gregory Kinal, a Pembroke history teacher, Lynne Belluscio of the Le Roy Historical Society, and Mark Osterman a photographic historian at George Eastman House, who will talk about early photography during the Civil War era.

“A Tale for Three Counties” debuted in 2003 with Leif Enger’s “Peace Like a River.” The project began with public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, who sought to bring a shared reading experience to residents of our three rural counties. GCC joined the project in 2005.

The project will include a series of book discussions that run through March, leading up to a series of visits by Troy in each county from March 7 to 9. A complete schedule is included in the special section.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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