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Catherynne Valente: The Habitation of the Blessed
CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE
THE HABITATION OF THE BLESSED
Local author Catherynne Valente will appear at the store for a reading from her new book, The Habitation of the Blessed.
This is the story of a place that never was: the kingdom of Prester John, the utopia described by an anonymous, twelfth-century document which captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for centuries. But what if it were all true? What if there was such a place, and a poor, broken priest once stumbled past its borders, discovering, not a Christian paradise, but a country where everything is possible, immortality is easily had, and the Western world is nothing but a dim and distant dream?
Brother Hiob of Luzerne, on missionary work in the Himalayan wilderness on the eve of the eighteenth century, discovers a village guarding a miraculous tree whose branches sprout books instead of fruit. These strange books chronicle the history of the kingdom of Prester John, and Hiob becomes obsessed with the tales they tell. The Habitation of the Blessed recounts the fragmented narratives found within these living volumes, revealing the life of a priest named John, and his rise to power in this country of impossible richness.
Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She has three brothers and a sister. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and camphor wilds of Japan. She currently lives on a small island off the coast of Maine, with her partner, two dogs, and one recalcitrant cat, having tumbled back to America and the otherworldly New England coast. She has Won the James Tiptree Award, and been nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards.