Author Roxana Robinson will give a talk and signing on her new novel Dawson’s Fall (Sarah Crichton Books, $27) at The Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot.
In Dawson’s Fall, a novel based on the lives of Roxana Robinson’s great-grandparents, we see America at its most fragile, fraught, and malleable. Set in 1889, in Charleston, South Carolina, Robinson’s tale weaves her family’s journal entries and letters with a novelist’s narrative grace, and spans the life of her tragic hero, Frank Dawson, as he attempts to navigate the country’s new political, social, and moral landscape.
Dawson, a man of fierce opinions, came to this country as a young Englishman to fight for the Confederacy in a war he understood as a conflict over states’ rights. He later became the editor of the Charleston News and Courier, finding a platform of real influence in the editorial column and emerging as a voice of the New South. With his wife and two children, he tried to lead a life that adhered to his staunch principles: equal rights, rule of law, and nonviolence, unswayed by the caprices of popular opinion. But he couldn’t control the political whims of his readers. As he wrangled diligently in his columns with questions of citizenship, equality, justice, and slavery, his newspaper rapidly lost readership, and he was plagued by financial worries. Nor could Dawson control the whims of the heart: his Swiss governess became embroiled in a tense affair with a drunkard doctor, which threatened to stain his family’s reputation. In the end, Dawson—a man in many ways representative of the country at this time—was felled by the very violence he vehemently opposed.
“Dawson’s Fall asks what truth means in an era when conviction matters more, and Roxana Robinson’s answer—that morality is friable—should make us sit up and tremble.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Roxana Robinson is a great American storyteller and never better than when she braids history and fiction, pulling truth out of mere facts. Dawson’s Fall grips us with fascinating characters, great and small, caught in the powerful unfolding of events that have shaped our country, and Robinson’s own wise, clear-eyed, and heartfelt narrative.” —Amy Bloom, author of White Houses
“Robinson bases her formidable novel on the lives of her great-grandparents, exposing the fragile and horrific state of affairs in the American South two decades after the end of the Civil War . . . Robinson’s descriptive and imaginative prose sings; this book is a startling reminder of the immoral and lasting brutality visited on the South by the institution of slavery.” —Publishers Weekly
Roxana Robinson is the author of more than ten books, including the novels Sparta and Dawson’s Fall, and the biography Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, More, and Vogue, among other publications.
If you are unable to attend this event, you may reserve a signed copy of Dawson’s Fall by calling The Hickory Stick Bookshop.
Sunday, August 11, 2pm
The Hickory Stick Bookshop
2 Green Hill Road