" American Arcadia by Laura Scalzo is both a compelling portrait of a bygone era that glittered with possibility and a profoundly personal novel.
It traverses the territory surrounding desire, love, grief, and friendship while acknowledging the walls, locked gates, and distances that make accessing the heart of any of them so difficult. Every paradise must have a border. And yet Scalzo’s masterpiece is compassionate to the seekers lost in that fringe of scrub—and generous. There are revelations to be found in the tough but gloriously surviving weeds, and Scalzo allows her characters to discover them, as well as themselves. She lets her characters grow. I loved American Arcadia. At once sweeping and searingly intimate, it’s a stunning achievement.
— Melissa Ostrom, Author of Unleaving and The Beloved Wild
May 6, 2023, 5:00 pm
Politics and Prose, Washington, DC
May 20, 2023
Gaithersburg Book Festival,
Gaithersburg , MD
June 15, 2023, 7:00 pm
Books on the Common/Ridgefield Library,
July 1, 2023 - July 8, 2023
Writer-in-Residence, Chautauqua Institution,
The Speed of Light in Air, Water, and Glass
"Scalzo brilliantly weaves historical fiction and modern day STEM science into a fresh tale of adolescents grappling to understand the moral decisions and lessons from adult role models and historical heroes while struggling to make independent decisions and forge their own identities. A beautifully written, insightful and engrossing story by a remarkable new writer."
"Laura Scalzo has written a remarkable book with a remarkable teenage girl at its center. Julia is a classic teen character - utterly individual with a voice as clear as Holden Caulfield's but without the cynicism. But this book is so much more than a coming of age story as it effortlessly weaves in the US's secret war in Laos, Clover Adams' suicide, Japanese culture and mythology, and fractal geometry. It sounds over-ambitious, but Scalzo pulls it all together in a wholly readable and enlightening way. I loved it!"
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