Join us for readings from Against the Wind, the debut novel from Jim Tilley, and Weather Woman, the latest from Cai Emmons.
Against the Wind is an elegantly written story of relationships involving six principal characters, the strands of whose lives braid together after a chance reunion among three of them.
A successful environmental lawyer is forced to take himself to task when he realizes that everything about his work has betrayed his core beliefs. A high school English teacher asks her former high school love to take up her environmental cause. A transgender adolescent male raised by his grandparents struggles to excel in a world hostile to his kind. A French Canadian political science professor finds himself left with a choice between his cherished separatist cause and his marriage and family. An accomplished engineer is chronically unable to impress his more accomplished father sufficiently to be named head of the international wind technology company his father founded. The Quebec separatist party’s Minister of Natural Resources, a divorcée, finds herself caught between her French-Canadian lover and an unexpected English-Canadian suitor.
In Weather Woman, thirty-year-old Bronwyn Artair, feeling out of place in her doctoral program in Atmospheric Sciences at MIT, drops out and takes a job as a TV meteorologist, much to the dismay of her mentor, Diane Fenwick. After a year of living alone in Southern New Hampshire, enduring the indignities of her job, dumped by her boyfriend, she discovers her deep connection to the natural world has given her an ability to affect natural forces. When she finally accepts she really possesses this startling capability, she must then negotiate a new relationship to the world. Who will she tell? Who will believe her? Most importantly, how will she put this new skill of hers to use? As she seeks answers to these questions, she travels to Kansas to see the tornado maverick she worships; falls in love with Matt, the tabloid journalist who has come to investigate her; visits fires raging out of control in Los Angeles; and eventually voyages with Matt and Diane to the methane fields of Siberia. A woman experiencing power for the first time in her life, she must figure out what she can do for the world without hurting it further. The story poses questions about science and intuition, women and power, and what the earth needs from humans.
Jim Tilley has published three full-length collections of poetry and a short memoir, The Elegant Solution. His writing has appeared in top literary journals, including Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Southern Review. In 2008, he won Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize for Poetry. Jim earned a doctorate in physics from Harvard University. During his twenty-five-year career in insurance and investment banking, he wrote several prize-winning papers on finance and investments. He has recently published original mathematics research in various academic journals. He resides in Bedford Corners, New York.
Cai Emmons is the author of the novels His Mother’s Son and The Stylist and, most recently, Weather Woman. A graduate of Yale University, with MFAs from New York University and the University of Oregon, Cai is formerly a playwright and screenwriter. Her short work has appeared in such publications as TriQuarterly, Narrative and Arts and Culture, among others. She teaches in the University of Oregon’s Creative Writing Program.