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Books & Brews, December 13, 2022 - The White Mosque & In Between Places

WMRA’s December Books & Brews featured two authors. Sofia Samatar, discussing her memoir, "The White Mosque", and Lucy Bryan, discussing her work, "In Between Places: A Memoir in Essays."

Signed copies of, The White Mosque, and In Between Places, are available online at Stone Soup Books.

WMRA's Books & Brews is made possible thanks to our series sponsor, Gaines Group Architects. The Gaines Group has offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.

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About The White Mosque:

A historical tapestry of border-crossing travelers, students, wanderers, martyrs and invaders, The White Mosque is a memoiristic, prismatic record of a journey through Uzbekistan and the strange shifts, encounters, and accidents that combine to create an identity. In the late nineteenth century, a group of German-speaking Mennonites traveled from Russia into Central Asia, where their charismatic leader predicted Christ would return. Over a century later, Sofia Samatar joins a tour following their path, fascinated not by the hardships of their journey, but by its aftermath: the establishment of a small Christian village in the Muslim Khanate of Khiva. Named Ak Metchet, “The White Mosque,” after the Mennonites’ whitewashed church, the village lasted for fifty years.

Sofia Samatar is the author of five books, most recently the memoir The White Mosque. Her works include the award-winning epic fantasy A Stranger in Olondria and Monster Portraits, an exploration of monsters in collaboration with her brother, the artist Del Samatar.

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About In Between Places:

In her late twenties, writer and naturalist Lucy Bryan found herself in between places. Her marriage to her first love had crumbled. Her beloved father had died of cancer. Doubt had supplanted the faith that had guided her since childhood. Uprooted and adrift, she turned to the natural world in search of meaning, connection, and a renewed sense of self. In this collection of essays, Bryan traverses familiar and far-flung wildernesses, from the soaring cliffs of Yosemite National Park to the bomb-pocked heath barrens of West Virginia's Dolly Sods Wilderness to hidden ravines that shelter ancient ecosystems in the Florida panhandle. She also invites readers on a contemplative journey. Landscape, ecology, and human and natural history illuminate the questions that emerge as she heals, falls in love again, and welcomes her first child: Why isn't our species better at letting go? Why (re)marry, when the institution of marriage fails so many? Why bring a child into this world, knowing destruction will be its inheritance?

Lucy Bryan is a writer, adventurer, mother, teacher, and lover of alpenglow, fungi, tiny streams, tall trees, native wildflowers, campfires, homegrown vegetables, thunderstorms, and tents.