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This evening, I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for Catherynne M. Valente's1 newest novel, Palimpsest, at Between Books2. It was so much more than a signing... Valente read passages from the book, and SJ Tucker3 performed songs she had written that were inspired by it. The show was haunting and magical, and I truly felt transported to another place.

Valente and Tucker's alternating passages and songs were a perfect call and answer. Valente's reading is melodic and soothing to listen to. It is obvious how much she cares for the words she's written in her attention to pacing and cadence. Her narrative paints a vivid picture of the world of Palimpsest where color, thought, and an underlying current of mystery play an enormous role. Tucker's voice is remarkable, ranging from deep, warm, rich lows to crystalline, full, bright heights. She seemed to relish in tasting each lyric with the tip of her tongue before releasing it to make sure it was perfect for her audience. Each song brought even more definition and life to the passages that Valente read.

After the performance, the two artists were more than willing to talk with fans and sign books and CDs. They were both exceedingly kind and seemed humbled by the support shown to them in the crowded, standing-room only book store. If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to attend one of their shows. If you can't do that, at least pick up a copy of the book and a few of Tucker's CDs. You will be glad that you did!


1. Catherynne M. Valente is also known as catvalente.

2. Between Books is an independent book store in Claymont, DE. It's owned and operated by the nicest guy you'll ever meet, Greg. After talking to you for five minutes, Greg can recommend a dozen books for you to read. You will love every one of them. He can do the same thing with games. Support your local independent book seller!

3. SJ Tucker is also known as s00j.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
loch_nessie
Mar. 1st, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
didn't know you were going - we might have gone as well. (We were at dinner at mommom's, but we could have rescheduled)
She's the author that we almost went on the train ride from Chicago to New Orleans with, as part of this book tour. I think we made the right choice not to, but Ad was really looking forward to the trip for a while.
ladyandromeda
Mar. 1st, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Oh man, yeah I love her work, it grips me unlike most authors. they are going to other places as well, like New York. You should definitely check them out.
It was great! Also I miss you guys
befers
Mar. 1st, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think there are a few seats left on that train trip, still! It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. It's funny... we (ladyandromeda, Mr. ladyandromeda, incognitus_ego, and I) were talking about you guys last night and commenting that we hadn't seen you in a while. I'm sorry we didn't connect beforehand!
loch_nessie
Mar. 1st, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
ya, we're going to new orleans on our own in april now (from 4/17-4/20) for the french quarter festival instead (you're welcome to join us!)
there were a few too many undefined details and changing prices for us to do the train ride, and...cat's good in small doses (and her books are wonderful) but that long cooped up on a train with the same group of people would end...poorly.
kylecassidy
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
i just started reading it this morning!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )