ELLIOTT BAY FICTION BOOK GROUP
Tuesday, June 4th at 6:30 p.m.
(First Tuesday of each month)
Each month, the Elliott Bay Fiction Book Club reads and discusses the best in contemporary fiction with the occasional classic thrown in for good measure. Our June selection is Georgi Vladimov's Faithful Ruslan. Unavailable for over twenty years, this gripping novelfirst circulated anonymously in samizdat and now widely hailed as one of the most important works of the Soviet dissident eratells the story of the guard dogs left behind at an abandoned prison camp in the Siberian gulag, it is told entirely from the perspective of one of the dogs. Starving and stray, desperate yet dedicated, Ruslan and his cadre of fellow guard dogs wait faithfully at the desolate train depot for the return of the godlike "Masters" they unconditionally loved. Also, for the next batch of prisoners they've been trained to viciously controltraining that, as it turns out, gives this book a powerful and unexpected ending, when a train does indeed return to the depot on day.
Based on a real-life incident, and with wrenching detail derived from the gulag experiences of the author's imprisoned mother, Faithful Ruslan is a moving and absorbing tale, and a stirring cri de coeur against the violence of arbitrary power. "[An] exceptionally talented writer who has been cut down in mid-career and who is being hounded by the KGB. One reason for the persecution is his celebrated novella, Faithful Ruslan, which has circulated all over the country in samizdat." - Time. "Known as a writer of strong conscience... Mr. Vladimov's best known work, Faithful Ruslan is a chilling cynical parable of false hopes in the post-Stalin era." - The New York Times.
GLOBAL ISSUES & ETHICS BOOK GROUP
Tuesday, June 11th at 6:30 p.m.
(second Tuesday of each month)
Our Global Issues & Ethics Book Group is devoted to discussing books that cover the most relevant topics of our everyday lives. Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times by Eyal Press is this month's selected reading. History has produced many specimens of the banality of evil, but what about its flip side, what impels ordinary people to defy the sway of authority and convention? Through this dramatic stories of unlikely resisters, Eyal Press shows that the boldest acts of dissent are often carried out not only by radicals seeking to overthrow the system but also by true believers who cling with unusual fierceness to their convictions. Drawing on groundbreaking research by moral psychologists and neuroscientists, this deeply reported work of narrative journalism examines the choices and dilemmas we all face when our principles collide with the loyalties we harbor and the duties we are expected to fulfill. " A fascinating study in the better angels of our natures." - George Packer, The New Yorker.
SPECULATIONS-SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY BOOK GROUP
Tuesday, June 18th at 6:30 p.m.
(third Tuesday of each month)
As the literature of ideas and imagination, Science Fiction and Fantasy simply demands discussion. Our selection for June is Hannu Rajaniemi's mind-bending debut The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi. Jean le Flambeur gets up in the morning and has to kill himself before his other self can kill him first. Just another day in the Dilemma Prison. Rescued by the mysterious Mieli and her flirtatious spacecraft, Jean is taken to the Oubliette, the Moving City of Mars, where time is a currency, memories are treasures, and a moon-turned-singularity lights the night. Meanwhile, investigator Isidore Beautrelet, called in to investigate the murder of a chocolatier, finds himself on the trail of an arch-criminal, a man named le Flambeur....Indeed, in his many lives, the entity called Jean le Flambeur has been a thief, a confidence artist, a posthuman mind-burgler, and more. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his deeds are known throughout the Heterarchy. In his last exploit, he managed the supreme feat of hiding the truth about himself from the one person in the solar system hardest to hide from: himself. Now he has the chance to regain himself in all his power—in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed.