If catching up on your reading is something you have planned for Spring Break, here’s something special to add to your list: Douglas Trevor’s book of short stories, “A Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space.” It’s an award-winning book written by a current University of Michigan English professor who will be at Liggett on April 11 to read from and discuss the book during the Book of the Semester discussion.
Trevor is taking care of the final details of the launch of his new book, a novel called “Girls I Know.” There are readings scheduled and a launch party and he just recently saw the finished cover art. His publisher, SixOneSeven Books, is still working on the back cover, which will include some nice compliments from other authors.
“Girls” is Trevor’s first novel and he found working on it much different from working on short stories. “The work on a novel is very engrossing but with a novel you can write hundreds of pages that never get used or follow a dead end for months,” he said. “I thought with the novel that I wouldn’t be worrying over every paragraph the way you have to with short stories, but I still did.”
When writing short stories, Trevor says, “You get accustomed to hearing a clock ticking in your head. You’re constantly thinking about length. I’ve gone back to writing short stories, but after writing the novel I find they’ve stretched; they’re much longer.”
Trevor said he finds himself writing a lot about the interaction of people who are having trouble connecting with each other, between people who are not quite seeing the world in the same way. And he treats the subjects with an offbeat humor that makes his characters human and relatable.
Bringing in a working author like Trevor is an outreach program of Liggett. “Bringing authors in contact with students helps reinforce the idea that literary fiction writing is a purposeful endeavor that continually invites readers to examine their values,” said English Department Chair Walter Butzu.
Before Trevor’s evening event, he will spend the day in the Upper School talking with students about the craft of writing and about his work – they are all supposed to have read “Labor Day Hurricane, 1935” one of the stories in “The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space.” In a neat bit of interdisciplinary learning, Upper School history students will read an article about the historical event against this fictional story is set and science teacher Russ Glenn will discuss the effects of hurricanes on reshaping coastlines, which is an element of the story.
Butzu says he finds bringing working authors into the classroom is an invaluable opportunity for students, especially those inclined to write.
The Book of the Semester Club meets at 7 p.m. April 11 in the Manoogian Arts Wing. It’s open to anyone, but please email Butzu if you are coming. If you want to purchase the book, click here, and visit douglastrevor.com for more information about the author.
By Ron Bernas