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Kerri Arsenault in Conversation With Megan Labrise
September 21, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pmFree
Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working-class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100 years, the community orbited around a paper mill that employed most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. The mill, while providing livelihoods for nearly everyone, also contributed to the destruction of the environment and the decline of the town’s economic, moral, and emotional health in a slow-moving catastrophe, earning the area the nickname “Cancer Valley.” In Mill Town (St. Martin’s), Arsenault undertakes an excavation of a collective past to present a portrait of a community that illuminates not only the ruin of her hometown and the collapse of the working-class of America, but also the hazards of both living in and leaving home, and the silences we are all afraid to violate. A galvanizing and powerful debut, Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: What are we willing to tolerate and whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? Arsenault will be joined in conversation in by Megan Labrise, editor-at-large of Kirkus Reviews and host of the Fully Booked podcast.