Forthcoming on August 29, 2015, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall a new novel by Ellen Urbani. The story is this….
Rosebud Howard almost survives. She charges through the Lower Ninth Ward, beating the wall of floodwater by a half-block. She clambers out of an attic, onto a roof, into a rowboat. But her grueling trek to Tuscaloosa, in search of help for her family, ends when she’s hit and killed by a car laden with supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims. Passenger Rose Aikens, orphaned by the crash, climbs away from the wreck after lacing the dead girl’s sneakers onto her own feet. When she discovers they share not only shoes but a name and a birth year, Rose embarks upon a guilt-assuaging odyssey to retrace Rosebud’s last steps and locate her remaining kin. The stories and destinies of these two teenagers-one black, one white-converge in Landfall, giving voice to the dead and demonstrating how strangers, with perseverance and forgiveness, can unite to reconstruct each other’s shattered family histories.
Landfall is earning early buzz from bestselling authors, booksellers, librarians, and industry leaders, including Pat Conroy, who called it “a hell of a book” and Mark Suchomel, president of client services for Perseus Books Group, who said “I absolutely loved it and rank it as one of the best books I have read in years.”
Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) said of the novel, “A deeply soulful novel….Landfall recalls Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God for the strength of the women in its pages, and their resilience despite immeasurable loss.”
“Our committee fell in love with Landfall and its strong mothers and daughters,” said Laura Stanfill, publisher of Forest Avenue Press. “In this luminous, warm, heartbreaking family novel, Ellen tells the untold stories, the secrets held tight, that would otherwise have been lost to the storm.”
Ellen Urbani is the author of When I Was Elena (2006) a BookSense Notable selection. Her writing has appears in The New York Times and numerous anthologies. A Southern expat, she now lives in Oregon.