In what many perceive as a coldly relentless digital age, Pulitzer-prize winning author, Richard Russo has teamed up with his daughter, artist Kate Russo, to create Interventions (Down East, May 2012), their tribute to the printed book. For it, they chose three previously published stories, Horseman, High and Dry, and The Whore’s Child. The title novella, Intervention, is a never-before-published story of one man’s struggle to face his own mortality and the unspoken truth he never realized he knew. All four positively crackle with Russo’s piercing and understated insight into the lives of ordinary people. “[they] have some element in which an outside force profoundly intervenes in someone’s life.” Richard noted in an interview with PW’s Judith Rosen, That’s what Kate does as an artist.” Kate added, “we wanted a book about the obsessions people have and what drives them to that point.”
But what makes the book truly special is the unusual format–each story is an individually soft-bound volume with a cover illustration by Kate. Framable prints of her paintings accompany each book and all are collected into a slipcase. The format is an integral part of Interventions. The Russos’ intention is for the reader to experience the work in the tangible, tactile way only a printed book can provide. They chose long-established Maine publisher, Down East, for the project. “We wanted it to be sustainable, and printed in the U.S. Sort of in the theme of High and Dry. Don’t outsource what you don’t need to,” Richard told Rosen. In fact, the book contract clearly states that it can never be reproduced as an e-book. In the same interview Down East Publisher John Viehman remarked, “Interventions feels right for the times. It sends a great message. It’s not just a cookie-cutter book. It’s something you can hold in your hand. It’s really part of the conversation that writers, publishers, editors have. We don’t know what’s coming. The point is to try and preserve and celebrate the tactile aspect of reading.” Printed in the United States on the finest sustainably harvested papers, the set is as much a joy to hold as it is to read.
Richard Russo will be the featured speaker at the opening day of ABA’s Day of Education, on Monday, June 4, at BookExpo America (BEA). The hour-long event will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will be open to all BEA badged attendees. The session, titled “Why Indies Matter,” will focus on the evolving role of the author amid the significant, ongoing changes that are fundamentally altering the book industry.
For more information about Interventions, or to schedule an interview with the Russos, please contact me at email@example.com or 207-871-1813.