Jennifer Savran KellyJul 17, 2023
Algonquin Books 2023
Today I talked to Jennifer Savran Kelly her new book Endpapers (Algonquin Books, 2023).
Dawn Levit has reached a crossroads in life. What seemed like a stable relationship with a gay roommate is becoming ever more complicated; frayed family ties will not mend soon, if they ever do; and half the time Dawn can’t even decide on waking up in the morning whether to dress as a woman, a man, or some combination of both. A job restoring old books for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York brings tactile and professional satisfaction, but it cannot compensate for the artistic inspiration that appears to have deserted Dawn just when it’s needed most.
When by chance Dawn discovers, in the endpapers of a water-damaged book, a love letter in German from one woman to another, the urge to identify the writer holds out the possibility of distraction from day-to-day problems. The book dates from the 1950s, making it difficult but not impossible to investigate the circumstances that caused the letter to be written, then hidden, and to discover the person who wrote it five decades ago. The search opens a window for Dawn onto the history of the queer community in New York and elsewhere, offering opportunities for greater self-acceptance and a renewed connection with the artistic muse.
Jennifer Savran Kelly is a writer, bookbinder, and editor, as well as the author of Endpapers.
C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest book, Song of the Storyteller, appeared in January 2023.