Monday, 16 July 2018

Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg + #Giveaway + Guest Post

Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg

Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Mirare Press
Release date: March 2018
Tour dates: July 2 to 20, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (This book contains love scenes, one explicit love scene, and some profanity)

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.98 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $9.46 / £7.07 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Liberty Landing to your Goodreads

Liberty Landing -- a 2016 Finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction -- narrates the American Experience of the 21st century through the lives of a polycultural cast of natives, immigrants, and refugees in Azyl Park--a town in the Midwest.

After Angeline Lalande, a journalist and historian, unearths the real meaning of the name, "Azyl," conferred on the town in the 1800s by immigrant-hating politicians, the town elders begin the act of renaming it. During the course of the renaming, we meet the intriguing denizens of the town--survivors, strugglers, and strivers of every race and nationality, see the intersection of their lives, and the ways they find home, heaven, and haven in each other. We learn about the singular journeys that brought them to Azyl Park--a place that both transforms them and is transformed by them.

The larger story of the American Experiment is told through the personal story of Alexander Hamilton, the essential immigrant among the Founding Fathers, as Angeline writes a book about him. By the end of the novel, after Azyl Park is renamed, each of the characters has lost or found something essential.

Liberty Landing is about the personal and the political, family and loss, memory and migration, finding new love and a new home, and about history and the American Experiment. Seminal moments of the American Experience figure in this literary and historical fiction. Inspired by John Dos Passos' USA Trilogy about early 20th century Americans, Liberty Landing is a sweeping, lush, layered saga, set in a vibrant community, with a cast of Americans marked by neuroses, flaws, secrets, unspeakable pasts, humor, warmth, vulnerability, and humanity.

Liberty Landing is Gail Vida Hamburg's love letter to the American Experiment--the first in a trilogy.

To follow the tour, please visit Gail Vida Hamburg's page on iRead Book Tours.

Watch the trailer:

Writing America As I Find It by Gail Vida Hamburg, author of the novel, Liberty Landing

The characters in Liberty Landing (Mirare Press, 2018), my novel about the American Experiment and American Experience include Gabriel Khoury, a Palestinian Christian from a Lebanese refugee camp; Angeline LaLande, a journalist and chronicler of history of Louisiana Creole origins; Bruce Halliday, an Australian master brewer turned Hollywood  TV reality star; Tina Trang, a Vietnamese woman, who was airlifted as infant from the U.S. Embassy roof during the fall of Saigon; Nila and Rae Oberoi, diasporic Indians raising two troubled teenagers; Roger, a fifth generation American from Iowa; and an ensemble of refugees and immigrants from around the world who land in Azyl Park, the fictional multicultural town in the saga.

Writing these characters into being was a novelist’s dream. As a globalist, an expatriate, and an immigrant of color who has lived in multiple cities on three continents, and as someone with family, friendships, and community that defy rigid cultural, religious, and ethnic boundaries, I felt comfortable writing about these characters.

There is a hypersensitivity in publishing today about novelists writing about characters unlike themselves. I agree with this anxiety to some extent. I’ll never know the lived experience of a transgendered person and don’t feel it would be my story to tell. I’ll never know what it is like to be a Native American on a reservation and don’t feel qualified to tell this story. However, as a person of color who has been racially profiled in stores and restaurants, I feel confident that I can expand on this known and lived experience to articulate the rage of an African American humiliated by racism as she’s shopping or driving.

There’s a new band of professionals in conventional publishing called “sensitivity readers”—a cohort of early readers who point out insensitive portrayals of characters and cultural appropriation by novelists. Author Francine Prose finds them problematic: “Isn’t reading an experience that the writer allows us to “live”? Doesn’t fiction let the reader imagine what it might be like to be someone else? Or to enable us to consider what it means to be a human being—of another race, ethnicity, or gender? Should we dismiss Madame Bovary because Flaubert lacked “lived experience” of what it meant to be a restless provincial housewife? Can we no longer read Othello because Shakespeare wasn’t black?”

At the same time, I have read troublesome depictions of characters by authors who do not know anyone from that group. For example, a writer I know, a suburbanite from a gated community who doesn’t know a single person of color, wrote a story about a Korean woman working in a laundromat … in first person!!! She said, “Ah so,” a lot in the story, which I had to point out to him was Japanese, not Korean. I defend this writer’s right to depict this character if he educates himself through research and interviews about the character’s ethnicity.

Those who support advance sensitivity reading say that novelists who write cross-culturally shrink opportunities in publishing for those writing about their own ethnic groups. In this, I feel safe. Because of the kind of novels I write, socially engaged and political fiction, I rejected traditional publishing very early in my career.

There is a humanity we share that transcends race, religion, culture, and country of origin. For example, when someone we love dies, we all grieve in the same way. We cannot forgive God for shattering our hearts. We feel we will never outlive our sorrow. I’ve buried people I’ve loved, more than once, and my grief is no different from the grief of the parents of Sandy Hook, or those who lost a loved one in 9/11, or a widow who lost her soldier husband in a foreign war. I feel confident I can write about grief other than my own. All of us who love our children raise them with hope in the future. I can render this hope through the character of a White Soccer Mom as easily as I can through a South Asian immigrant father. The American Experience binds us to certain narratives—of this country as a place of deliverance, tolerance, idealism, and hope. The characters in Liberty Landing are grappling with all that it means to be American and human, each in their own way.

Meet the Author:

Gail Vida Hamburg is an award-winning American journalist, author, and museum storyist. She is the author of The Edge of the World (Mirare Press, 2007), a novel about the impact of American foreign policy on individual lives. A nominee for the 2008 James Fenimore Cooper Prize, it is a frequent text in undergraduate post- colonial studies, war studies, and creative writing programs. Born in Malaysia, she spent her teens and twenties in England before migrating to the United States. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Literature and Creative Writing from Bennington Writers Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont. Liberty Landing, the first volume in her trilogy about the American Experience, is her love letter to the great American Experiment.

She lives in Chicago—the setting for Liberty Landing, a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 28, 2018

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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Gail Vida Hamburg / Contemporary fiction / Books from America


  1. Oh, cool! This totally looks like a book I'd like.

  2. This one definitely looks interesting!

  3. That could be thoughtprovoking and interesting to me. Thanks for the intro!