Labyrinth Books will feature author Lauren B. Davis and scholar Maria DiBattista tonight at 6 p.m. at the Nassau Street store. The two will discusses Davis’s recent novel, “The Empty Room”, which is now out in paperback. The event is free and open to the public.
The Empty Room, named one of the best books of the year by Amazon Canada, the National Post, and the Winnipeg Free Press, examines the depths of addiction, the chaos and pain of alcoholism, and the importance and grace of one person reaching out to another.
In the novel, Colleen Kerrigan wakes up sick and bruised, with no clear memory of the night before. It’s Monday morning, and she is late for work again. She’s shocked to see the near-empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter. It was full at noon yesterday; surely she didn’t drink that much last night? As she struggles out the door, she fights the urge to have a sip, just to take the edge off. But no, she’s not going to drink today.
But this is the day Colleen’s demons come for her. A very bad day spirals into night as a series of flashbacks take the reader through Colleen’s past — both the moments of friendship and loss, and the fragments of peace and possibility. The single constant is the bottle, always close by, Colleen’s worst enemy and her only friend.
Davis, a creative writing teacher who lives in Princeton and is originally from Canada, is the author of several books. Her previous novel, “Our Daily Bread”, was longlisted for the Giller Prize and named one of the best books of 2011 by the Globe & Mail and the Boston Globe. Her other novels are “The Stubborn Season”, ‘The Radiant City”, and “Rat Medicine & Other Unlikely Curatives.” She teaches a popular monthly writing workshop in Lawrenceville called Sharpening the Quill.
Maria DiBattista is a professor of English and comparative literature at Princeton University. She specializes in 20th-century literature and film, the European novel, and narrative theory. Her books include “Imagining Virginia Woolf”, “Novel Characters: A Genealogy”, “The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography”, “First Love: The Affections of Modern Fiction”, “High and Low Moderns”, and “Fast Talking Dames.”