2014-07-09 / Features

Literary Fiction Night With Authors At Astoria Bookshop


The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett. The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett. Natalie S. Harnett, a Queens native and author of The Hollow Ground; and Julie Fierro, founder of Sackett Street Writers and author of Cutting Teeth will be reading from their work at the Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st St., Astoria, 718-278-2665 on Tuesday, July 15, 7 p.m.

The Hollow Ground and Cutting Teeth are two of the most anticipated books of 2014. Critics have praised the authors for their complex, deeply flawed characters and rich prose.

“After hearing about Natalie’s and Julia’s books, I can’t harness my excitement to have them read from their fabulous works to our customers,” said Lexi Beach, owner of the Astoria Bookshop. “Both these writers have captured the nuances of human nature via their spellbinding stories. These are must-read books for the summer!”

The underground mine fires ravaging Pennsylvania coal country in The Hollow Ground have forced 11 year old Brigid Howley and her family to seek refuge with her estranged grandparents, the formidable Gram and the black lung-stricken Gramp. Tragedy is no stranger to the Howleys, a proud Irish American clan who takes strange pleasure in the “curse” laid upon them generations earlier by a priest who ran afoul of the Molly Maguires. The weight of this legacy rests heavily on a new generation, when Brigid, already struggling to keep her family together, makes a grisly discovery in a long-abandoned bootleg mine shaft. In the aftermath, decades-old secrets threaten to prove just as dangerous to the Howleys as the burning, hollow ground beneath their feet.

Inspired by real-life events in Centralia and Carbondale, where devastating coal mine fires irrevocably changed the lives of residents, The Hollow Ground is an extraordinary debut with an atmospheric, voice-driven narrative and an indelible sense of place.

Cutting Teeth takes place one latesummer weekend as a group of 30-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.

Nicole, the hostess, struggles to keep her OCD behaviors unnoticed. Stay-athome dad Rip grapples with the reality that his careerist wife will likely deny him a second child, forcing him to disrupt the life he loves. Allie, one half of a twomom family, can’t stop imagining ditching her wife and kids in favor of her art. Tiffany, comfortable with her amazing body but not so comfortable in the uppermiddle class world the other characters were born into, flirts dangerously, and spars with her best friend Leigh, a blue blood secretly facing financial ruin and dependent on the magical Tibetan nanny everyone else covets. Throughout the weekend, conflicts intensify and painful truths surface. Friendships and alliances crack, forcing the house party to confront a new order. Cutting Teeth is about the complex dilemmas of early midlife – the vicissitudes of friendship, of romantic and familial love, and of sex. It’s about class tension, status hunger, and the unease of being in possession of life’s greatest bounty while still wondering, is this as good as it gets? And, perhaps most of all, Fierro’s warm and unpretentious debut explores the all-consuming love we feel for those we need most, and the sacrifice and compromise that underpins that love. Natalie Harnett is an MFA graduate of Columbia University. She has been awarded an Edward Albee Fellowship, a Summer Literary Seminars Fellowship, and a Vermont Studio Center Writer’s Grant, and was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Fiction. Harnett has been published in The New York Times, The Madison Review and The MacGuffin. She lives on Long Island with her husband and toddler.

Julia Fierro is the founder of The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, which has been a creative home to over 2,000 writers since 2002. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow, her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Millions, Flavorwire, and other publications, and she has been profiled in The L Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The Observer and The Economist. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two children.

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2017 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.