Presented in association with
Santa Monica Public Library
An Afternoon with
C. Morgan Babst
in conversation with Scott Timberg
The Floating World
Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium
Santa Monica Public Library
601 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
This event is part of our Newer Voices Series.
General Admission tickets are complimentary, but we encourage you to support these newer authors and purchase their books.
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>>> Pre-purchasing the book includes a Reserved Seat ($29)
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C. Morgan Babst is a native of New Orleans. She studied writing at NOCCA, Yale, and NYU, and her essays and short fiction have appeared in such journals as Garden and Gun, The Oxford American, Guernica, the Harvard Review, and the New Orleans Review. The Floating World is her first novel.
“This powerful and lyrical novel captures the emotional currents in New Orleans after Katrina. With an authentic and sensitive voice, Morgan Babst explores family, race, class, and the essence of disruption.”
—Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci
“Set in New Orleans, this important and powerful novel follows the Boisdoré family . . . in the months after Katrina. A profound, moving and authentically detailed picture of the storm’s emotional impact on those who lived through it.” —People
In this dazzling debut about family, home, and grief, C. Morgan Babst takes readers into the heart of Hurricane Katrina and the life of a great city.
As the storm is fast approaching the Louisiana coast, Cora Boisdoré refuses to leave the city. Her parents, Joe Boisdoré, an artist descended from freed slaves who became the city’s preeminent furniture makers, and his white “Uptown” wife, Dr. Tess Eshleman, are forced to evacuate without her, setting off a chain of events that leaves their marriage in shambles and Cora catatonic—the victim or perpetrator of some violence mysterious even to herself.
This mystery is at the center of Babst’s haunting and profound novel. Cora’s sister, Del, returns to New Orleans from the successful life she built in New York City to find her hometown in ruins and her family deeply alienated from one another. As Del attempts to figure out what happened to her sister, she must also reckon with the racial history of the city and the trauma of a disaster that was not, in fact, some random act of God but an avoidable tragedy visited on New Orleans’s most vulnerable citizens. Separately and together, each member of the Boisdoré clan must find the strength to remake home in a city forever changed.
The Floating World is the Katrina story that needed to be told—one with a piercing, unforgettable loveliness and a vivid, intimate understanding of this particular place and its tangled past.
Scott Timberg is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer. A former Los Angeles Times and Salon staffer, he writes these days for The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review online, LMU Magazine, and the New York Times. Timberg edited, with Dana Gioia, the anthology The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles (Red Hen). He’s the author, most recently, of Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class (Yale University Press), and runs the accompanying ArtsJournal blog CultureCrash. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMisreadCity.