You know what it's like when you finish a book and you immediately want to discuss it with your friends? That's how I felt after reading Jennifer Tseng's Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness.
The novel tells the story of a librarian in her early 40s who has an affair with a 17-year-old library patron. The two share a love of books and are kindred spirits in many ways.
I know you may be thinking that's immoral and possibly criminal. But somehow Jennifer makes it work. I felt empathy for Mayumi even when her actions left me shaking my head. She's a complex character that I believe most readers will enjoy getting to know.
Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is Jennifer's first novel, but she's written two award-winning poetry collections. You can tell she has a background in poetry when you read her prose, which holds together beautifully on a sentence-by-sentence level.
I caught up with her while she was in South Florida to give a talk at the University of Miami.
- who gave her "permission" to write about such a taboo topic
- why she's always been interested in libraries as a space
- how her novel is playfully responding to books like Lolita
- why she has a fixation with the sentence
Click here to listen to the podcast.
We have a free, signed copy of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness to give away. It will go to the first listener to tell us the name of the poetry manuscript Jennifer is working on now. You can contact us through Facebook or Twitter (@ReadMorePodcast) to provide the answer.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible for this contest. Also, if you and I ever worked together at Smithfield's, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore does not have a friends and family plan! But we'll always have that sweat tea. It was the best.
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Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness