Event Description Perry Public Library will hold its annual All Iowa Reads Book Discussion, Thursday, April 30, in the library Large Meeting Room. Everyone is welcome to attend our discussion of this year's selected title My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira. We are delighted to have guest George Minot with us to serve as our discussion facilitator. George is an author, English instructor, and graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and his considerable literary skills are sure to add a great deal of depth to our discussion. Books are available in regular, large print, and audio book formats at the library to check out, and a limited number of paperback copies of the book are available for purchase at the library circulation desk.
From the book's cover: "In this stunning first novel, Mary Sutter is a brilliant, headstrong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine--and eager to run away from her recent heartbreak-- Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens-two surgeons who fall unwittingly in love with Mary's courage, will, and stubbornness in the face of suffering-and resisting her mother's pleas to return home to help with the birth of her twin sister's baby, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital.
Like Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain and Robert Hicks's The Widow of the South, My Name Is Mary Sutter powerfully evokes the atmosphere of the period. Rich with historical detail (including marvelous depictions of Lincoln, Dorothea Dix, General McClellan, and John Hay among others), and full of the tragedies and challenges of wartime, My Name Is Mary Sutter is an exceptional novel. And in Mary herself, Robin Oliveira has created a truly unforgettable heroine whose unwavering determination and vulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere."
My Name Is Mary Sutter received the 2011 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the 2010 American Historical Fiction Honorable Mention from the Langum Charitable Trust. Oliveira's short fiction and essays have appeared in Euphony and Numero Cinq. She is the former fiction editor at the literary magazine upstreet and a former assistant editor at Narrative Magazine. Her new novel is I Always Loved You, the story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas's tempestuous relationship.