Bristol author presents new book, ‘Miming in French’ at Lawrence Library
BRISTOL — Author Sheila McGrory-Klyza of Bristol will discuss her new book about a friendship between two girls that transcends cultural differences, and will also share her personal observations about difficult social dynamics in France in an upcoming One World Library Project program in Bristol. The presentation is based on her middle-grade novel “Miming in French,” which she wrote after living in Aix-en-Provence, France. The program is suitable for all ages and will be held Thursday, Nov. 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol.
In both 2004 and 2010, McGrory-Klyza spent six months living in France with her husband and their two daughters. While attempting to assimilate into French culture, she became aware of social dynamics between French Muslims and those who considered themselves the “true” French. Since she and her family were also outsiders in this culture, she began to imagine what it would be like for an American girl to befriend a French Muslim girl and how they might overcome their own cultural differences. McGrory-Klyza wrote “Miming in French” to tell that story.
Another central character is a mysterious street mime, a symbol of someone removed from labels of ethnicity, religion, skin color and nationality. He helps the two girls discover the meaning of true friendship and realize that the people one meets can often turn out to be quite different from one’s expectations. Although the book is a middle-grade novel, readers of all ages will find it engaging.
During this free program, McGrory-Klyza will read from the novel, answer questions about the book, and share her personal understanding of the current struggles in France with immigration and assimilation of Muslims into the mainstream culture. She has donated a copy of her book to the library and it is available for community members to check out. At the program, she will also offer copies of her book for sale.
McGrory-Klyza will also show images in a slide show of Aix-en-Provence where her family had lived in France. “If truth be told,” McGrory-Klyza confesses, “another reason I wrote this novel was because I wanted to stay in Aix vicariously after we had returned to the US. Aix is a beautiful, fascinating place, layered with Mediterranean vivacity and complexities that I find exhilarating. Writing about it from my desk in Vermont in and around my other work kept it alive for me.”
For more information on the program, contact the Lawrence Memorial Library at 453-2366 or go to www.OneWorldLibraryProject.org