Author Ira Sher, a former resident of Geneva, visited Hobart and William Smith Colleges for a book signing as part of the celebration of Geneva High School Class of 1988’s 25th reunion. Sher’s visit was held on Saturday, July 27, at 3 p.m. in the atrium of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. He presented his two novels, “The Gentlemen of Space” and “Singer.”
His first book, “Gentlemen of Space” (Free Press, 2010) is about a boy whose father is chosen, in the summer of 1976, to be the first civilian on the moon. He then disappears on it. The boy receives phone calls from his father in space – which no one will believe – and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin arrive to pay their respects to the family in full space suits.
Publishers Weekly describes the book as “an original, haunting twist on a story of childhood loss.”
Brendan Driscoll of Booklist wrote, “This is a beautiful, eloquent first novel that dares one to use clever phrases like “rising star” and “out of this world.”
The storyline in “Singer” is described by Amazon: “In the early 1980s, Milton Menger, a wealthy art dealer living in New Jersey, is called by an estranged friend, Charles Trembleman, with whom he’s had no contact in years. Charley is a traveling salesman for the Singer Sewing Company and his hands have just been badly burned in a motel fire near Memphis. He needs a driver so he can continue traveling and selling. Milty rises to the occasion. Together they embark on a journey across the South, visiting showrooms and staying in locally owned motels. Is it a coincidence that these motels keep going up in flames?”
Publishers Weekly’s review of the book notes, “In this gorgeously written yet elusive book, sophomore novelist Sher (Gentlemen of Space) chronicles a surreal road trip and uses the Singer Sewing Company as a metaphor for the erosion of America… fans of offbeat stories and dazzling prose will find this novel inspired and inspiring.”
A nationally acclaimed author, Sher’s work has elicited praise from publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Publisher’s Weekly and the Washington Post. His work has been featured on “This American Life” and his works of short fiction have been published in the Chicago Review and The Gettysburg Review. He was also a finalist for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Mystery Stories.
His visit is open to the public.