There's a lot of water imagery in Anthony Doerr's first novel, About Grace. A lot of water imagery. Snowflakes fall. The sometimes-clairvoyant protagonist moves from snowy Anchorage to lakeside Cleveland. And in his dreams, his daughter drowns when their house sinks during a deluge. "I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was a kid," laughs the Cleveland-raised Doerr, who now lives in Idaho. "And my brother always had a saltwater fish tank in our house. That was always a big deal. But I really can't tell you where all this comes from."
Doerr's debut short-story collection, The Shell Collector, snagged a ton of awards a couple years ago. About Grace is a more obsessive work, detailing one man's quest to keep his little girl safe. "I definitely had fatherhood in mind when I was writing the book," admits Doerr, a first-time parent to recently born twin boys.
Ultimately, the novel is about redemption, fear, and family. "I'm not trying to prove a point," says Doerr. "I'm just asking the question: What would you do in this situation?" Doerr discusses and signs About Grace at 7 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free. Call 216-691-7000 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
Anthology paints a bleak picture of the future.
When Jon Wilhelm started putting together Aria Kalsan Anthology: Mysteries of the Future, he had one goal in mind: to raise awareness about the environment. "A lot of the world changed and a lot of the culture changed after 9-11," he says. "I wanted to tell a story about our world." Fifteen authors, poets, and artists from around the globe contribute to the work, which editor Wilhelm prefers to call an allegory rather than science fiction. "I was looking for people who could give an optimistic message," he explains. "Even though the setting is very bleak." Still, there's hope, Wilhelm says. "Each story is about what it means to do things beyond the call of duty. But it's not about what I bring to readers, but what they bring to the book." Wilhelm and a few of the book's writers will discuss the work at 2 p.m. Saturday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free; call 216-691-7000. -- Michael Gallucci
Open Up and Say 'Art'
Ex-doctor launches gallery.
The inaugural exhibit at LeMeek Gallery -- founded by former physician LeMeek, who traded her stethoscope for a paintbrush more than a decade ago -- features 3-D mosaics made of bits of broken glass affixed to walls, fruit, furniture, and even Barbie dolls. LeMeek has also turned to other art forms, such as tattooing, for influence. "The art I see in the tattoos is a diary of self-expression for individuals chronicling their lives," she says. "It cannot be lost or taken away." LeMeek's grand opening is from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Murray Hill Schoolhouse, 2026 Murray Hill Road, Suite 104. Regular hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-791-7981. -- Cris Glaser
The seventh annual Earth Science Fair happens Sunday, and this year, it's all about "prevention, planning, and correct choices," says Cuyahoga Valley Natural Park naturalist Tom Nash. Learn about clouds, the greenhouse effect, and other works of nature through exhibits, games, and hands-on demonstrations. It takes place from noon to 5 p.m. at the Tuscarawas Meadows Area of Firestone Metro Park, 2620 Harrington Road in Akron. Admission is free; call 330-865-8065. -- Lucy McKernan
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