Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Saga Sites

On Monday I give a lecture at Scandinavia House in New York in conjunction with the exhibition “Saga Sites,” in which the 19th-century paintings of W.G. Collingwood are paired with the 20th-century photographs of Einar Falur Ingólfsson—both artists responding to the fact that the places made famous by the medieval Icelandic sagas still carry the same names from a thousand years ago and look much like they did then.

It was this, the immediacy of story, that drew me to Iceland first in 1986 and brought me back again and again to see the saga sites. The sagas are alive in the landscape. There is a story everywhere you turn.

Sometimes, several stories.

“You must go to Reykholt and see Snorri’s pool.” It was 1994 when I was given this order by an Icelandic farmwife. I remember it vividly for two reasons.

First, it was the wrong Snorri. I was then researching the life of Snorri Goði, the 11th-century hero of Eyrbyggja Saga, for a historical novel (never published). The Snorri with the famous geothermally heated hot-tub on his estate at Reykholt was Snorri Sturluson, the 13th-century author of the Edda.

Second, I had been invited into the farm kitchen for coffee—a usual occurrence on my trips to Iceland—and, like many Icelandic kitchens, there were too few chairs for the company. An old man got up to give me a seat. I gratefully accepted—and sat in something wet. I did not want to know what. Surely, he had just been out in the rain bringing in the cows? I don’t recall if it was raining, but it often rains in Iceland.

I didn’t go to Reykholt until 2001, when my family joined me in Iceland and we took in all the standard tourist sites. I wasn’t much impressed. I had seen—and soaked in—other geothermal pools by then. Iceland has more than 250 hotsprings. Their water heats the entire city of Reykjavik, including the city swimming pools.

On a riding tour into the southern highlands, I had enjoyed a swim in the pools at Landmannalaugar, where a hotspring overflows into a cold river, providing a gradient of temperatures sure to please any stiff or sore horse-woman.

I recalled a pool barely cool enough to dip in, deep in the lava field that surrounded the abandoned farmhouse we rented in 1996 for my husband to write his book Summer at Little Lava.

I had twice visited the pool in Skagafjord where Grettir the Outlaw warmed himself after his four-mile swim through the cold north Atlantic from his hideout on the island of Drangey.

But it wasn’t until I began researching Snorri Sturluson’s life to write Song of the Vikings that I learned what this flowing hot water meant for the people of medieval Iceland.

The first story we know about Snorri Sturluson is the story of how he came to be the fosterson of the rich and learned chieftain Jon Loftsson of Oddi, known as the uncrowned king of Iceland. Jon offered to educate Sturla of Hvamm’s three-year-old son, Snorri, to end a feud over hot water.

The story begins beside the river Hvita in the west of Iceland, where lay the rich farm of Deildartunga. It was not a large farm, but was rich in its ability to make hay, for it owned extensive water meadows along the river bottom. Even better, these were warm water meadows.

The Hvita is an ice-cold glacial river. Its name, “White River,” denotes not whitewater rapids but milky glacial till. Yet not far from the river, beneath a bluff painted pink with mineral deposits, bubbled a hotspring: the highest volume hotspring in all of Iceland.

The hotspring at Tunga provided warm water for cooking and bathing and washing clothes, but these were minor benefits compared to its effect on the hayfields. The hot water that spilled into the river and spread over the floodplain made the grass sprout sooner after winter and stay green longer in the fall.

Grass was the foundation of Iceland’s medieval economy, hay being the only crop that grew well. Thanks to his hotspring, the farmer at Tunga could make more hay than his neighbors and so keep more cows, sheep, and horses. Cows were highly valued because the Viking diet was based on milk and cheese. Sheep were milked as well (sheep’s milk is richer in vitamin C; important in a land where no vegetables grow), but sheep were prized mostly for their wool: Cloth was Iceland’s major export. Horses were necessary for transportation, since Iceland has few navigable rivers.

The farmer at Tunga’s wealth—reckoned, the usual way, in cows or “cow equivalents” (six ewes equaling one cow)—was eight hundred head of cattle. Eighty head was considered a decent farm. No wonder the two biggest men in the district took notice in 1180, between the Winter of Sickness and the Summer of No Grass, when Tunga fell vacant.

One of these men was the chieftain Pall Solvason, who lived up the river at Reykholt.

The other was the chieftain Bodvar Thordarson, whose estate was a few miles down the river. Bodvar’s daughter was married to Sturla of Hvamm, which is how Snorri’s father got involved in the feud.

Jon Loftsson, the uncrowned king of Iceland, was brought in only after Pall Solvason’s wife lost her temper during a meeting at Reykholt to decide ownership of the farm. She ran into the circle of men with a kitchen knife in her hand and thrust it at Sturla’s eye, saying, “Why should I not make you look like Odin, whom you so wish to resemble?”

Someone grabbed her from behind and the blade missed Sturla’s eye, but it caused quite a gash.

It was in payment for this attack that Snorri Sturluson went to Oddi, where he received the best education to be found in Iceland at the time. The benefit to us—to all of Western culture—is immeasurable, for it was at Oddi that Snorri became a writer.

And all due to a fight over hot water. Some say the reason Snorri took over Reykholt many years later was also to avenge the attack on his father’s eye—but that’s another story.

This essay was adapted from my biography of Snorri Sturluson, Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, published by Palgrave Macmillan. On December 3 at 6:30, I will be giving a lecture at Scandinavia House in conjunction with the “Saga Sites” exhibition. See

Join me again next Wednesday at for another writing adventure, or meet me on tour:
            11/29: Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, VT @ 6:30
            11/30: Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT @ 7:00
            12/3: Scandinavia House, New York City @ 6:30
            12/6: Phoenix Books, Burlington, VT @ 7:00

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seven Norse Myths We Wouldn’t Have Without Snorri: Part II

 It was Neil Gaiman who convinced me. Reading American Gods, I was delighted to see the character Mr. Wednesday echoing Snorri Sturluson, the 13th-century Icelandic writer whose biography forms the core of my book Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths.

Mr. Wednesday, I knew, was the Norse god Odin (from the Old English spelling, Woden’s Day). In American Gods he is a tricky figure to pin down, attractive, untrustworthy, all-powerful, but also afraid—for the old gods have been nearly forgotten. And that, Gaiman implies, would be a disaster for all of us.

Which is exactly what Snorri Sturluson was trying to say in his Edda.

Seeing Snorri through Gaiman’s lens convinced me he was more than an antiquarian, more than an academic collector of old lore. Like Gaiman himself, Snorri was a wonderfully imaginative writer.

And both of them—all writers, in fact—are devotees of the god of Wednesday who, according to Snorri, is the god of poetry and storytelling.

We know very little about Odin, except for what Snorri wrote. We have poems containing cryptic hints. We have rune stones whose blunt images and few words tantalize. Only Snorri gives us stories, with beginnings and ends and explanations—but also with contradictions and puzzles.

Almost everything we know about Norse mythology comes from Snorri’s Edda and Heimskringla, two books he wrote between 1220 and 1240 to gain influence at the Norwegian court.

The Edda is a handbook on how to write Viking court poetry, much of which refers obscurely to Norse myths. The god Odin in Snorri’s Edda is the ruler of heaven and earth, the greatest and most glorious of the gods. Odin and his brothers fashioned the world from the body of the giant Ymir. But Snorri also describes Odin in very Christian terms as the All-father.

This Odin overlaps with, but is not entirely the same as, the King Odin in Snorri’s Heimskringla. Heimskringla means “The Round World” or “The Orb of the Earth” (from the first two words of the introduction). It is a collection of 16 sagas in which Snorri traces the history of Norway from its founding in the shadows of time by Odin the Wizard-King (a human king who later was mistakenly revered as a god, Snorri explains) to 1177 A.D., the year before Snorri’s birth.

It is this Odin the Wizard-King who inspired Mr. Wednesday—as well as Tolkien’s Gandalf, which is a subject for another time.

King Odin “could change himself and appear in any form he would,” Snorri writes, including bird, beast, fish, or dragon. He raised the dead and questioned them. He owned two talking ravens who flew far and wide, gathering news. He worked magic with runes, and spoke only in verse or song. With a word he “slaked fire, stilled the sea, or turned winds in what way he would.” He knew “such songs that the earth and hills and rocks and howes opened themselves for him,” and he entered and stole their treasures. “His foes feared him, but his friends took pride in him and trusted in his craft.”

Long after King Odin’s death, when he had become a god, Snorri says, the missionary King Olaf Tryggvason, who forced Norway to become Christian around the year 1000, held a feast to celebrate Easter. An unknown guest arrived, “an old man of wise words, who had a broad-brimmed hat and was one-eyed.” The old man told tales of many lands, and the king “found much fun in his talk.” Only the bishop recognized this dangerous guest. He convinced the king that it was time to retire, but Odin followed them into the royal chamber and sat on the king’s bed, continuing his wondrous stories. The bishop tried again. “It is time for sleep, your majesty.” The king dutifully closed his eyes. But a little later King Olaf awoke. He asked that the storyteller be called to him, but the one-eyed old man was nowhere to be found.

Nowhere but in Snorri’s books. And, perhaps, in his soul.

Odin One-eye was Snorri’s favorite of all the Norse gods and goddesses. Following tradition, he placed Odin in his Edda at the head of the Viking pantheon of 12 gods and 12 goddesses. Then he increased his power so that, like the Christian God the Father, Snorri’s Odin All-Father governed all things great and small.

Icelanders had, in fact, long favored Thor, the god of Thursday. They named their children after the mighty Thunder God: In a twelfth-century record of Iceland’s first settlers, a thousand people bear names beginning with Thor; none are named for Odin. Nor did the first Christian missionaries to Iceland find cults of Odin. Odin is rarely mentioned in the sagas. For a good sailing wind Icelanders called on Thor. But Snorri wasn’t fond of Thor—except for comic relief. Thor was the god of farmers and fishermen.

Odin was a god for aristocrats—not just the king of gods, but the god of kings.

He had a gold helmet and a fine coat of mail, a spear, and a gold ring that magically dripped eight matching rings every ninth night. No problem for him to be a generous lord, a gold-giver.

He had a grand feast hall named Valhalla, where dead heroes feasted on unlimited boiled pork and mead. Snorri is our only source for many of the details of what Valhalla looked like: its roof tiled with gold shields, the juggler tossing seven knives, the fire whose flames were swords—even the beautiful Valkyries, the warrior women who serve mead to the heroes. Old poems and sagas that Snorri does not quote describe the Valkyries as monsters. These Valkyries are troll women of gigantic size who ride wolves and pour troughs of blood over a battlefield. They row a boat through the sky, trailing a rain of blood. They are known by their “evil smell.” One rode at the head of an army carrying a cloth “which hung down in tatters and dripped blood.” She whipped the cloth about, “and when the ragged ends touched a man’s neck she jerked off his head.” Snorri didn’t care for that kind of Valkyrie.

Finally, Odin had the best horse, the eight-legged Sleipnir. Snorri is our only source for the memorable comic tale of how Odin’s wonderful horse came to be.

Here’s how I tell it in Song of the Vikings:

One day while Thor was off fighting trolls in the east, a giant entered the gods’ city of Asgard. He was a stonemason, he said, and offered to build the gods a wall so strong it would keep out any ogre or giant or troll. All he wanted in return was the sun and the moon and goddess Freya for his wife.

The gods talked it over, wondering how they could get the wall for free.

“If you build it in one winter, with no one’s help,” the gods said, thinking that impossible, “we have a deal.”

“Can I use my stallion?” the giant asked.

Loki replied, “I see no harm in that.” The other gods agreed. They swore mighty oaths.

The giant got to work. By night the stallion hauled enormous loads of stone, by day the giant laid them up. The wall rose, course upon course. With three days left of winter, it was nearly done.

“Whose idea was it to spoil the sky by giving away the sun and the moon—not to mention marrying Freyja into Giantland?” the gods shouted. They wanted out of their bargain. “It’s all Loki’s fault,” they agreed. “He’d better fix it.”

Loki transformed himself into a mare in heat. That evening, when the mason drove his stallion to the quarry, his horse was uncontrollable. It broke the traces and ran after the mare. The giant chased after them all night and, needless to say, he got no work done.

Nor could he finish the wall the next day with no stone. His always-edgy temper snapped. He flew into a giant rage.

The gods’ oaths were forgotten. Thor raised his terrible hammer and smashed the giant’s skull.

Eleven months later, Loki had a foal. It was grey and had eight legs. It grew up to be the best horse among gods and men.

In my next post, I’ll look at how Odin gave men poetry.

This essay was adapted from my biography of Snorri Sturluson, Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, published by Palgrave Macmillan. It originally appeared on the science fiction and fantasy lovers website"The Grey God" is by Michael L. Peters; see more of his art at

Join me again next Wednesday at for another writing adventure, or meet me on tour:
            11/29: Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, VT @ 6:30
            11/30: Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT @ 7:00
            12/3: Scandinavia House, New York City @ 6:30
            12/6: Phoenix Books, Burlington, VT @ 7:00

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seven Norse Myths We Wouldn’t Have Without Snorri

We think of Norse mythology as ancient and anonymous. But in fact, most of the stories we know about Odin, Thor, Loki, and the other gods of Scandinavia were written by the 13th-century Icelandic chieftain Snorri Sturluson.

Notice I said “written” and not “written down.” Snorri was a greedy and unscrupulous lawyer, a power-monger whose ambition led to the end of Iceland’s independence and to its becoming a colony of Norway.

But Snorri was also a masterful poet and storyteller who used his creative gifts to charm his way to power. Studying Snorri’s life to write my book Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, I learned how he came to write his Edda, a book that’s been called “the deep and ancient wellspring of Western culture,” and his Heimskringla, a history of Norway from its founding in the far past by Odin the Wizard-King.

These two books are our main, and sometimes our only, source for much of what we think of as Norse mythology—and it’s clear, to me at least, that Snorri simply made a lot of it up. For example, Snorri is our only source for these seven classic Norse myths:

1. The Creation of the World in Fire and Ice
2. Odin and his Eight-legged Horse
3. Odin and the Mead of Poetry
4. How Thor Got His Hammer of Might
5. Thor’s Visit to Utgard-Loki
6. How Tyr Lost His Hand
7. The Death of Beautiful Baldur

Over the next few weeks, I’ll go through these seven Norse myths one by one and try to explain why I think Snorri made them up. But first, you may be wondering why Snorri wrote these myths of the old gods and giants in the first place. Iceland in the 13th century was a Christian country. It had been Christian for over 200 years.

He did so to gain influence at the Norwegian court. When Snorri came to Norway for the first time in 1218, he was horrified to learn that chivalry was all the rage. The 14-year-old King Hakon would rather read the romances of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table than hear poems recited about the splendid deeds of his own ancestors, the Viking kings. The Viking poetry Snorri loved was dismissed as old-fashioned and too hard to understand. So, to reintroduce the young king to his heritage Snorri Sturluson began writing his books.

The Edda is essentially a handbook on Viking poetry. For the Vikings were not only fierce warriors, they were very subtle artists. Their poetry had an enormous number of rules for rhyme and meter and alliteration. It also had kennings. Snorri defined kennings in his Edda (he may also have coined the term). As Snorri explained, there are three kinds: “It is a simple kenning to call battle ‘spear clash’ and it is a double kenning to call a sword ‘fire of the spear-clash,’ and it is extended if there are more elements.”

Kennings are rarely so easy to decipher as these. Most kennings refer—quite obscurely—to pagan myths.

Kennings were the soul of Viking poetry. One modern reader speaks of the “sudden unaccountable surge of power” that comes when you finally perceive in the stream of images the story they represent. But as Snorri well knew, when those stories were forgotten, the poetry would die. That’s why, when he wrote his Edda to teach the young king of Norway about Viking poetry, he filled it with Norse myths.

But it had been 200 years since anyone had believed in the old gods. Many of the references in the old poems were unclear. The old myths had been forgotten. So Snorri simply made things up to fill in the gaps.

Let me give you an example. Here’s Snorri’s Creation story:

In the beginning, Snorri wrote, there was nothing. No sand, no sea, no cooling wave. No earth, no heaven above. Nothing but the yawning empty gap, Ginnungagap. All was cold and grim.

Then came Surt with a crashing noise, bright and burning. He bore a flaming sword. Rivers of fire flowed till they turned hard as slag from an iron-maker’s forge, then froze to ice.

The ice-rime grew, layer upon layer, till it bridged the mighty, magical gap. Where the ice met sparks of flame and still-flowing lava from Surt’s home in the south, it thawed and dripped. Like an icicle it formed the first frost-giant, Ymir, and his cow.

Ymir drank the cow’s abundant milk. The cow licked the ice, which was salty. It licked free a handsome man and his wife.

They had three sons, one of whom was Odin, the ruler of heaven and earth, the greatest and most glorious of the gods: the All-father, who “lives throughout all ages and … governs all things great and small…,” Snorri wrote, adding that “all men who are righteous shall live and dwell with him” after they die.

Odin and his brothers killed the frost-giant Ymir. From his body they fashioned the world: His flesh was the soil, his blood the sea. His bones and teeth became stones and scree. His hair were trees, his skull was the sky, his brain, clouds.

From his eyebrows they made Middle Earth, which they peopled with men, crafting the first man and woman from driftwood they found on the seashore.

So Snorri explains the creation of the world in the beginning of his Edda. Partly he is quoting an older poem, the “Song of the Sibyl,” whose author he does not name. Partly he seems to be making it up—especially the bit about the world forming in a kind of volcanic eruption, and then freezing to ice.

If this myth were truly ancient, there could be no volcano. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, the Scandinavian homelands, are not volcanic. Only Iceland—discovered in 870, when Norse paganism was already on the wane—is geologically active. In medieval times, Iceland’s volcanoes erupted ten or a dozen times a century, often burning through thick glaciers. There is nothing so characteristic of Iceland’s landscape as the clash between fire and ice.

That the world was built out of Ymir’s dismembered body is Snorri’s invention. The idea is suspiciously like the cosmology in popular philosophical treatises of the 12th and 13th centuries. These were based on Plato, who conceived of the world as a gigantic human body.

Ymir’s cow may have been Snorri’s invention too. No other source mentions a giant cow, nor what the giant Ymir lived on. A cow, to Snorri, would have been the obvious source of monstrous sustenance. Like all wealthy Icelanders, Snorri was a dairyman. He was also, as I’ve said, a Christian. It fits with his wry sense of humor for the first pagan god to be born from a salt lick.

Finally, the idea that Odin was the All-father, who gave men “a soul that shall live and never perish” and who welcomes the righteous to Valhalla after death is Snorri’s very-Christian idea. He was trying to make the old stories acceptable to a young Christian king who had been brought up by bishops.

In my next post, I’ll look at how Snorri created the character of the god Odin.

This essay was adapted from my biography of Snorri Sturluson, Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Join me again next Wednesday at for another writing adventure, or meet me on tour:
            11/17: Eagle Eye Books, Decatur, GA @ 1:30
            11/29: Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, VT @ 6:30
            11/30: Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT @ 7:00
            12/3: Scandinavia House, New York City @ 6:30
            12/6: Phoenix Books, Burlington, VT @ 7:00

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What is a Saga?

From “The Forsyte Saga” in 1906 to “The Twilight Saga” a hundred years later, we’ve grown used to our books (or their movie adaptations) being called “sagas.” But “saga” is an Icelandic word: How did it come to be so popular?

The first sagas were written in Iceland in the Middle Ages. They are bloody and thrilling and filled with a realism we don’t expect from medieval literature. Photographer Einar Falur Ingólfsson, whose exhibition “Saga Sites” is currently showing at Scandinavia House in New York, calls them “the first Scandinavian crime novels.”

Tipped on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland earns its name: It holds the largest glacier in Europe. The first sight sailors see, approaching Iceland, is the silvery gleaming arc of the sun reflecting off the ice cap. Closer in, the eye is struck by the blackness of the shore, the lava sand, the cliffs reaching into the sea in crumpled stacks and arches, the rocks and crags all shaped by fire. For Iceland is a volcanic land. Even when an eruption is not in progress, smoke from its hotsprings and steam vents rises high in the air. Fire and ice have shaped this island. Its central highlands—half its total area—are desert: ash, ice, moonscapes of rock. Grass grows well along Iceland’s coasts, but little else thrives. There are no tall trees—and so no shipbuilding: a dangerous lack for island-dwellers. Other natural resources are equally scarce. Iceland has no gold, no silver, no copper, no tin. The iron is impure bog-iron, difficult to smelt. The first settlers, Vikings emigrating from Norway and the British Isles between 870 and 930, chose Iceland because they had nowhere else to go. Nowhere they could live free of a king. At least, that’s how the story goes.

Iceland has many such stories. The arctic winter nights are long. To while away the dark hours, Icelanders since the time of the settlement told stories, recited poems, and—once the Christian missionaries taught them the necessary ink-quill-and-parchment technology in the early eleventh century—wrote and read books aloud to each other.

Three of those books, including the most influential, are linked to Snorri Sturluson. Writers of prose in his day did not sign their works, so we can’t be one-hundred-percent certain of his authorship. He was named as author of the Edda in the early 1300s, of Heimskringla by the 1600s (supposedly based on a lost medieval manuscript), and of Egil’s Saga not until the 1800s.

Egil’s Saga may be the first true Icelandic saga, establishing the genre and granting the word “saga” the meaning we still use today: a long and detailed novel about several generations of a family.

In Egil’s Saga, Snorri created the two competing Viking types who would give Norse culture its lasting appeal. Egil’s Saga begins with a Viking named “Evening Wolf” (reputed to be a werewolf), and his two sons; his surviving son also had two sons, one of whom is Egil. In each generation, one son is tall, blond, and blue-eyed, a stellar athlete, a courageous fighter, an independent, honorable man who laughs in the face of danger, dying with a poem or quip on his lips. The other son is dark and ugly, a werewolf, a wizard, a poet, a berserk, a crafty schemer who knows every promise is contingent. Both sons, bright and dark, are Vikings.

In one famous scene, Egil’s grandfather Kveld-Ulf decides to leave Norway after the murder of his son Thorolf by the king. Out at sea, he took his revenge. Recognizing a dragonship that Thorolf had owned, he attacked. Kveld-Ulf leaped into the stern, his remaining son, Skalla-Grim, leaped into the bow, and both went berserk. They cut down every man in their way, until the deck was cleared. Kveld-Ulf fought with a halberd, a kind of long-handled axe with a spike on it. He hewed at the ship’s captain, we’re told, “slicing through both helmet and head and burying the weapon right up to the shaft. Then he gave it a hard tug towards himself, lifted [the captain] into the air and tossed him overboard.”

With this passage the Viking Hero was born. Kveld-Ulf’s deck-clearing, axe-hewing, bloodthirsty berserk rage has been reenacted countless times in novels and films and comic strips. He and Skalla-Grim didn’t even know whose men they were butchering. Only after more than fifty men died did they catch two and ask who was on the ship, learning that among the dead were the king’s young cousins, boys of ten and twelve. Thorolf’s death was fully avenged.

Skalla-Grim composed a poem about it (true Vikings were also good poets). He told the two lucky captives to go to the king and recite it, telling him “precisely what happened and who was responsible.” Then he and his father sailed to Iceland, where 300 years later, their descendant, Snorri Sturluson would turn their lives into a saga.

This essay was adapted from my biography of Snorri Sturluson, Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, just published by Palgrave Macmillan. On December 3 at 6:30, I will be giving a lecture at Scandinavia House in conjunction with the “Saga Sites” exhibition. See

Other upcoming events in my book tour are:

11/7: Mount Holly Town Library, Belmont, VT @ 7 p.m. See 

11/8: Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY @ 4:30 p.m. See

11/9: Bucknell University Bookstore, Lewisburg, PA @ 5:30 p.m. See 

11/10: The Icelandic Jólabasar Christmas Fair, American Legion Post 177, 3939 Oak Street, Fairfax, VA @ 11-3. See 

11/11: Webster’s Books and Cafe, State College, PA @ 6:30 p.m. See 

11/12: Penn State Comparative Literature Luncheon, 102 Kern Bldg, University Park, PA @ 12:15 p.m. See 

11/13: Malaprop’s Bookstore Cafe, Asheville, NC @ 7 p.m. See

Watch the book trailer here: 

Or listen to me discuss the book with Tom Ashbrook on "On Point" from NPR station WBUR in Boston

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