discussing and signing
Traveling with Pomegranates (Viking, $25.95)
Thursday, September 24, 7:30pm
Coral Gables Congregational Church
3010 De Soto Boulevard (across the street from the Biltmore Hotel)
Sue Monk Kidd became a household name with her New York Times bestselling novel, The Secret Life of Bees, which has sold over 6 million copies to date. Since then, Fox Searchlight Pictures released a box-office hit movie based on the novel, featuring a star-studded cast, and her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, reached the number one spot on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. But before this whirlwind, from 1998 to 2000, when Sue had just published Dance of the Dissident Daughter and the idea for Bees was just an image in her head, Sue traveled around the world with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. Each woman was at a crossroads in her life, and together they undertook a journey to redefine and rediscover themselves.
Part travel story, part spiritual quest and part induction into feminine passages, TRAVELING WITH POMEGRANATES is a memoir told in two voices. Set against the awe-inspiring backdrops of France and Greece, this intersecting autobiography chronicles an intimate mapping of two women—a fifty something and a twenty-something, a mother and daughter—each about to enter new and different life stages. Sue, painfully aware of aging, struggles to hang on to herself as change surrounds her. Ann, newly graduated from college and heartbroken by the sudden end of her long-term relationship, not to mention a cold rejection from her graduate school of choice, is benumbed by the classic question about what to do with her life.
Over the course of their travels, the two women discover a new and respectful intimacy, forging a new bond. Candid, deeply personal and mindful of the symbolism all around them, Sue and Ann’s account is moving and unique. A book about myth, place, inspiration, confidence, and discovering who you are, TRAVELING WITH POMEGRANATES will resonate with mothers and daughters everywhere, and just about anyone who has ever faced change head on.
The Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone and mother-daughter estrangement and reunion serves as a foundation for the book, and provides the title’s reference to the famous fruit. A personal and modern reconfiguration of the myth, both women feel lost to each other and to themselves. As Ann, struggling with a depression she can barely admit to herself, drifts away, Sue tries to find a way to reach out to her while respecting her space and individuality. Meanwhile, Sue, who had just published Dance of the Dissident Daughter, is feeling the call of a new kind of creativity, and she admits to herself, finally, that she wants to write fiction. She wonders whether this vision she’s had of bees coming out of the crack of the ceiling in a young girl’s room has any value.
Like Sue’s other work, TRAVELING WITH POMEGRANATES has a spiritual core. Both Sue and Ann are on a quest, and reach out to feminine symbols for strength along the way: Sue finds comfort in the Virgin Mary, in all her shapes and forms, and Ann clings to her Athena ring, purchased on a previous trip to Greece and a reminder of the goddess’s strength and wisdom.
About the Authors
Sue Monk Kidd’s first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, has spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of numerous literary awards. Sue lives beside a salt marsh near Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband.
Ann Kidd Taylor is a graduate of Columbia College. She has written personal essays for Skirt! Magazine in Charleston, South Carolina where she lives with her husband and son. This is her first book.
265 Aragon Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134