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It is 1883, and all of Klara Bozic’s girlish dreams have come crashing down as she arrives in Thirsty, a gritty steel town carved into the slopes above the Monongahela River just outside of Pittsburgh. She has made a heartbreaking discovery. Her new husband Drago is as abusive as the father she left behind in Croatia.
In Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Klara’s life unfolds over forty years as she struggles to find her place in a new country where her survival depends on the friends who nurture her: gutsy, funny Katherine Zupanovic, who isn’t afraid of Drago’s fist; BenJo, the only black man in Thirsty to have his own shop; and strangely enough, Old Man Rupert, the town drunk.
Thirsty follows a chain of unlikely events that keep Klara’s spirit aloft: a flock of angelic butterflies descends on Thirsty; Klara gives birth to her first child in Old Man Rupert’s pumpkin patch; and BenJo gives her a talking bird. When Klara’s daughter marries a man even more brutal than Drago, Klara is forced to act. If she doesn’t finally break the cycle of violence in her family, her granddaughters will one day walk the same road, broken and bruised. As the threads that hold her family together fray and come undone, Klara has to decide if she has the courage to carve out a peaceful spot in the world for herself and her girls.
Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's debut novel, Thirsty, was published in October 2009 by Swallow Press. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poets & Writers Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Baltimore Review, San Diego Family Magazine, and The Gettysburg Review. Her column—The Fiction Writing Workshop—appears monthly in Writers on the Rise.
She has been living in Shanghai, China, since April 2006. When she is not exploring old Shanghai lanes with her daughter, yakking with locals in her mediocre-but-hopefully-always-improving Mandarin, or figuring out how she fits into this beautiful, crazy country, she's hunkered down in her office...writing.
I received this book from Shelby at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for review. Thank you Shelby!
Review coming soon!