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Join us as we examine two new books about espionage—one fiction, one non-fiction. Linda Joy Myers’ novel The Forger of Marseille undertakes topics not often covered in WWII fiction: life in Marseilles, forging documents, and details of escaping on foot over the Pyrenees. Leslie Absher’s memoir Spy Daughter, Queer Girl, examines the cost of professional and family secrets.
The Forger of Marseille
In Myers’ engrossing and poignant novel, Sarah, a nineteen-year-old Jewish art student escapes Nazi Germany for Paris. Her guide is Mr. Lieb, a dear family friend who also needs to flee. Briefly, Paris is an idyll for them both. Sarah even begins to fall in love, her heart won over by César, a former doctor who fought the fascists in Spain and now works in the underground. But as the Nazi threat engulfs Europe, Sarah decides to use her artistic talents for a higher purpose. She becomes a master forger, creating new identity papers for those in danger. Forced to make a grim and frightening journey to Marseille, the trio faces their greatest, and most personal, challenge yet. In this powerful novel of war, love, and courage, Myers explores identity, ingenuity, and the power of art to save lives.
Linda Joy Myers has integrated her passion for history and her own struggles with intergenerational trauma into her work as a therapist and writer. The power of the truth to educate current generations about the past led Linda Joy to explore the little-known history of WWII in the weeks following the fall of France—which in turn led her to write The Forger of Marseille. She is the author of two memoirs, Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains, and four books on memoir writing. She’s also the founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers. You can learn more about Linda Joy’s work at www.namw.org,http://theforgerofMarseille.com, and www.lindajoymyersauthor.com. She lives in Berkeley, CA.
Spy Daughter, Queer Girl: In Search of Truth and Acceptance in a Family of Secrets
Leslie Absher knows the cost of keeping secrets. Growing up as the queer daughter of a father who worked for the CIA, she understood that in her family, there were topics that were not to be discussed. Absher also knows that there is value in speaking your truth. In her debut memoir, Spy Daughter, Queer Girl: In Search of Truth and Acceptance in a Family of Secrets, Absher tells her story of searching for the truth about her father’s spy work while coming to terms with her queer identity. “Dad kept his secrets to himself, and so did I,” Absher writes. “Just like him, I lived a double life. One life had my queer self in it, and the other didn’t.” Absher ultimately decided to tell her truth, coming out and even reconnecting with Susan, her college crush. And she decided that her life as a spy daughter was also hers to reclaim. “I sensed a path opening before me,” she writes. “A new story. One that was fully my own. I was finally ready to tell it.”
Leslie Absher is a journalist and essayist. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Salon, The Independent, Ms., Greek Reporter, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was runner up for the X.J. Kennedy Award in Rosebud Magazine, as well as for Bellevue Literary Review’s nonfiction contest. She received a master’s in education from Harvard, taught G.E.D. to high school dropouts, and currently teaches writing and study skills to middle school and high school students. She lives in Oakland with her comic book writer/lawyer wife.