PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "If you could see me," Beth Kephart's new young adult novel begins. "If you were near."
These are the words of a young woman facing an inexplicable transformation—a slow loss of language, a retreat from reality, and a powerful obsession with the construction of strange and beautiful nests. They are the words of an American girl in a foreign city—Florence, Italy—whispered, in shame, to the reader.
One Thing Stolen (Chronicle Books, April 8, 2015) is Beth Kephart's nineteenth book. An award-winning writer who has plumbed the depths of Juarez, Mexico, explored the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and taken readers inside the divided city of 1983 Berlin, Kephart is focused this time on ideas of effacement—setting Nadia's rare neurological condition against the backdrop of her father's obsession with the devastating Florentine flood of November 1966. How does anything survive the threat of disappearance? Who can rescue a person who grows increasingly incapable of rescuing herself?
"Three obsessions fueled the writing of this book," says Kephart. "The first relates to my obsession with obsession itself—and that frighteningly thin line between a whole and dissipating mind. The second is my profound interest in the destructive and renewing power of urban rivers. The third obsession is birds, nests, and the idea of home. Finally this book arose from my love for my students at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. I teach memoir, which is to say the search for truth. I meet young people who inspire me with their own acts of generosity and courage."
Kephart was named one of Philadelphia's 50 legacy writers in a 2013/2014 exhibit at the Philadelphia International Airport and is a Radnor High Hall of Famer. She is a National Book Award finalist who has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pew Fellowships of the Arts, Leeway Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, among other honors. Going Over (Chronicle Books, 2014) was named a 2014 Booklist Editors' Choice, the Gold Medal Winner/Historical Fiction of the Parents' Choice Awards, and many other honors.
Kephart writes monthly for Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer and blogs daily at www.beth-kephart.blogspot.com
Lara Starr, Chronicle Books, Senior Publicist, Email, 415-537-4326
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SOURCE Beth Kephart