All posts tagged: 1960s

The storied–and haunted–history of one of NYC’s iconic hotels, THE CHELSEA GIRLS by Fiona Davis is about friendship, theater, and McCarthyism

By Leslie Lindsay  Spanning the 1940s thru 1960s, THE CHELSEA GIRLS pulls back the curtain (literally) on the political pressures of McCarthyism, complex bonds of female friendships, and the creative call of the NYC Chelsea Hotel.  I’ve been a fan of Fiona Davis since her debut, THE DOLLHOUSE (2016), about The Barbizon Hotel, home of girls in secretarial school in the 1950s, and was thrilled to receive a copy of her forthcoming THE CHELSEA GIRLS, about another iconic NYC hotel. It’s elegantly shabby–there’s glam and glitz and danger in the 1950s Manhattan, following WWII. Many great artists, playwrights, musicians, actors, and poets call the Chelsea home, but something else stalks these halls. Hazel Ripley has spent her life on the sidelines–always an understudy, never a lead. And she’s still reeling from the death of her beloved brother. She and Maxine strike up a friendship while on a USO tour and it’s through Maxine that she learns of the Chelsea Hotel as a mecca for creative types. When she returns to NYC after the war, she finds herself at the …

Elaine Neil Orr on her luminous, glittering tale, SWIMMING BETWEEN WORLDS on racial tension in the 1960s and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  SWIMMING BETWEEN WORLDS is such a tender, thoughtful, and affecting read on what it means to be touched by another culture–brimming with personal and social issues and told in a gentle, glimmering prose.  I’ll admit to having a bit of a cover crush on SWIMMING BETWEEN WORLDS. I mean, it’s stunning, right? To me, it embodies summer with a nod to a simpler time. Of course, we read because of the story, not the cover. And this one absolutely brings the carefree days of yesteryear to light, but…were they so carefree? This was my first book by Elaine Neil Orr and here’s what I know:  she’s drawn to tales that take place in distinct locations and is eager to merge them into a seamless whole. Place is not just a setting for her, but a character. SWIMMING BETWEEN WORLDS takes place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Nigeria, places that couldn’t be more different from one another. Plus, it’s the South in the 1950s-60s, we we’re talking civil rights and a lot of naiveté. “A perceptive and powerful …

Writers on Wednesday: Caroline Leavitt talks about being a ‘fall chicken,’ list-maker, fixer, mapping out stories via the Truby method, songs that influenced the 1960s & 1970s and so, so much more in her stellar CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD

By Leslie Lindsay  From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist of PICTURES OF YOU, IS THIS TOMORROW, and GIRLS IN TROUBLE, Caroline Leavitt returns with her eleventh novel, a stellar read intersecting family, new love, and an anxious time in American history. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the Manson Murders, CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD (Algonquin Books, Oct 4 2016) is at first blush, a coming-of-age tale, but the story grows immensely darker, about the perils of young love, controlling partners, and responsibility. Sixteen year old Lucy is about to run away with her much older High School English teacher to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that has dire consequences for she and her older sister, Charlotte. Like most novels, CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD is based on a smidgen of truth, a real-life crime concerning a girl who sat in front of Ms. Leavitt in a high school class for two years, who had a relationship with a thirty-year old man. It began for Leavitt as …

Wednesdays with Writers: Laura Lippman Talks about how Memory is a Myth we Create, Being AWFUL at titles, Exploring our Childhoods, & How TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD connects to WILDE LAKE & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  “The truth is messy, riotous, overrunning everything. You can never know the whole truth of anything. And if you could, you would wish you didn’t.” ~From WILDE LAKE  For twenty years, she was a journalist. She understands space and economy of words. She ‘gets’ motivation and the messiness of people. And it shows. She’s been awarded The Edgar, The Anthony, The Agatha…and so many others. All well-deserved.  And then she churns out WILDE LAKE, a complex coming-of-age story set between the 1960s and present day released May 3rd by William Morrow. Baltimore native Laura Lippman delivers a tale of justice and loyalty, all of which mingle with their friends truth and memory. Lu (Luisa) Brant, younger by eight years is fascinated by her brother, A.J., his friends and his life. She’s the pesky younger sister, but a smart, observant one. As an adult, she gets her “first murder,” thrusting her back to her younger days, when everyone lived in the planned community of Columbia, all divided into succinct villages with a certain …