Vera - Carol Edgarian in conversation with Meg Waite Clayton


Carol Edgarian in Conversation with Meg Waite Clayton




On Thursday, April 15th at 6 PM, join us in welcoming Carol Edgarian for her sensational new novel VeraCinematic and deeply enthralling, Vera is set in 1906 San Francisco, a city leveled by quake and fire, greed and corruption. As the city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, it falls to Vera Johnson, a resourceful fifteen-year-old, to unite an unlikely new family of survivors. Together they navigate a world reborn in the wake of disaster. Vera tells a story of hope in the face of mass destruction, where characters historical and fictional make up the novel's brilliant supporting cast. 

Carol Edgarian will be in conversation with the wonderful Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Last Train to London. Please join us for this marvelous event with two incredible women on Thursday, April 15th at 6 PM.   






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Vera is the illegitimate daughter of Rose, proprietor of San Francisco’s legendary bordello and crony to the city’s scandalous politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—one filled with the madam’s alluring connections, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her. On the morning of the devastating 1906 earthquake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the world burns around her, Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. A ravishing, heartbreaking, and profound affirmation of youth and tenacity, Vera’s story brings to life legendary characters—tenor Enrico Caruso, indicted mayor Eugene Schmitz and boss Abe Ruef, tabloid celebrity Alma Spreckels, as well as an unforgettable cast that includes Vera’s young lover, Bobby, protector of the city’s tribe of orphans, and three generations of a Chinese family competing and conspiring with Vera. As VERA takes readers on a spellbinding journey into the past, it conjures precient parallels to the issues of today: in a disaster, who and what rises? What happens to those who are marginalized, outcast, displaced? What is the responsibility of those who make it through to the other side, and especially those who manage to wrest some agency from this time of upheaval? How do we take care of our families, and of each other?

About the Authors:

Carol Edgarian's novels include the newly released Vera, the New York Times bestseller Three Stages of Amazement and the international bestseller Rise The Euphrates, winner of the ANC Freedom Prize. Her work has been described by The Washington Post as notable for its “generosity of spirit, intelligence, humanity, and finally ambition.” Her articles and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and W, among many others, and she co-edited the popular collection drawn from writers' diaries, The Writer's Life: Intimate Thoughts on Work, Love, Inspiration, and Fame. Carol is co-founder of the non-profit Narrative, a leading digital publisher of fiction, poetry, and art, and of Narrative in the Schools, which provides free libraries and writing resources for teachers and students around the world. Carol lives with her family in San Francisco.

Meg Waite Clayton is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, most recently The Last Train to London. Her previous novels include the Langum Prize--honored The Race for ParisThe Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (now the PEN/Bellwether); and The Wednesday Sisters, one of Entertainment Weekly's 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time. She has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington PostForbes, and public radio, often on the subject of the particular challenges women face.

Praise For:

“In addition to being an all-encompassing and enthralling historical novel, Vera parallels with the current era, and all of its accompanying losses.”


“Set in San Francisco during the great quake and fire of 1906, this wonderfully compelling novel takes us deeply into the heart and mind of an unforgettable fifteen-year-old girl, one who must find her way alone through a mother’s neglect, through bordellos and corrupt politicians, through the debris and ashes of what was once 'The Paris of the West.' Vera is that rare novel that you’ll want to buy for loved ones just as soon as you reach its shimmeringly beautiful ending. And its streetwise, resilient protagonist will stay with you for a very long time.”

—Andre Dubus III

“Sisters, mothers, heroines, charlatans, buffoons, scam artists, prostitutes, and the uncontrollable, passionate brawn of a young nation: in Vera we see, taste, smell the marrow of a country intoxicated on hope—all evidence to the contrary. Amazingly, Edgarian has captured a rolling, earnest, perpetual ruin so complex it could just be called life. She’s conjured another wonderful novel out of dust, history, love.”

—Rick Bass

“[A] visceral novel... [Edgarian] paints a vivid portrait of a metropolis teeming with sex workers, immigrants, corrupt politicians, and artists, and it’s fun to follow two strong young characters with very different views on life. The result makes for a stirring testament to a resilient city that never knew the meaning of the word quit.”

—Publishers Weekly

“In Vera, the past is as alive as you are, the brilliantly illuminated characters loving and surviving, breaking and building, destroying and redeeming, in rich detail and true color. Vera’s 1906 is a world we see and live in.”

—Amy Bloom

“Vera is a triumph—a story of disaster and healing, power and humility, grit and grace set against the lush, lascivious backdrop of San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake. This book is as whip smart as its heroine and as electric as her city and will haunt me—in the best way—for a long time to come.”

—Anna Solomon, author of The Book of V

"The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 extinguishes all sense of normalcy for 15-year-old Vera Johnson, who must survive by sheer pluck and intelligence in the newly rattled landscape... Vera resorts to her internal drive to slowly craft a new life for herself, [her sister] Pie, and a whole cast of colorful characters. The novel shines in painting a vivid picture of early-20th-century San Francisco, including its rowdy politics.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Event date: 
Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 6:00pm
Vera: A Novel By Carol Edgarian Cover Image
We're sorry, this book is unavailable from our distributor.
ISBN: 9781501157523
Published: Scribner - March 2nd, 2021

The Last Train to London: A Novel By Meg Waite Clayton Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062946942
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - June 16th, 2020