Saturday, September 16: Vermont-based author Robert Madrygin reads from his new novel, The Solace of Trees. 1pm.
“Robert Madrygin’s devastating debut novel tells the story of a Bosnian Muslim war orphan given a second chance in America only to be caught up in the madness of the US-led global War on Terror. If this book doesn’t dispel the myth of American exceptionalism, nothing will.” — L. E. Randolph, editor-in-chief of Ploughshares
The Solace of Trees tells the story of Amir, a young boy of secular Muslim heritage who witnesses his family’s murder in the Bosnian War. Amir hides in a forest, mute and shocked, among refugees fleeing for their lives. Narrowly escaping death in rural Bosnia, he finds sanctuary in a UN camp. After a charity relocates him to the United States, the retired professor who fosters Amir learns that the boy holds a shameful secret concerning his parents’ and sister’s deaths. Amir’s years in the US bring him healing and a loving place in a new family. In college, as a film studies major, he falls in love⎯and he accepts the request of an Islamic Studies professor to work on a documentary film on the plight of Palestinians. 9/11 comes, and with it, the arrest of the professor. As Amir enters adulthood, his destiny brings him full circle back to the darkness he thought he’d forever escaped.
Robert Madrygin spent his early years in postwar Japan, where his father, a US military lawyer, defended the rights of Japanese POWs. Numerous moves followed across the US and Europe. As an adult Madrygin lived with his wife and three children in Ecuador and Barcelona. He built a successful business and yet worked also in India managing a worldwide holistic conference and in post-Tsunami Thailand. In spring 2017 he will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. He and his wife live in Brattleboro, Vermont.