In early 2017, beloved author Samuel Park died after a long batter with stomach cancer. This year, his literary friends are putting together events to celebrate the publication of his new and final book, The Caregiver.
The Caregiver follows Mara Alencar, a young girl who lives with her mother Ana, a struggling voice-over actress. She is an admirably brave and recklessly impulsive woman who does everything in her power to care for her little girl. And with no other family and few friends her own age, Ana eclipses Mara’s entire world. Through their shared life, they take turns caring for each other in ways big and small. When Ana becomes desperate for money, she reluctantly gets involved with a civilian rebel group attempting to undermine the city's torturous Police Chief, who rules over 1980s Rio de Janeiro with terrifying brutality. When their scheme goes awry, Ana’s decisions leave an indelible mark on the rest of their deeply connected lives. Mara is forced to escape and she ends up in Los Angeles, an undocumented immigrant working as a caregiver to a young woman dying of stomach cancer. As Mara uncovers her mother’s secrets, she begins to grapple with her turbulent past while discovering truths about herself, her family, and what it means to truly take care of someone.
In celebration of Samuel, we will host a discussion featuring:
Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of five novels—Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible
Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Great Believers, The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and the collection Music for Wartime. She teaches in the MFA programs at Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University, and is the artistic director of StoryStudio Chicago. Her website is www.rebeccamakkai.com.
Shauna Seliy is the author of When We Get There (Bloomsbury). Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Jubilat, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Northwestern University.
Nami Mun grew up in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. For her first book, Miles from Nowhere, she received several awards, including the Whiting Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and was a finalist for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award. Miles from Nowhere was on several "best of" lists, including Amazon, Indie Next, and Booklist. Chicago Magazine named her Best New Novelist of 2009. Her work can be found in publications, such as The New York Times, Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, and Tales of Two Americas, an anthology of essays, poems, and stories about inequality in America. She currently lives in Chicago.