Charis welcomes Sarai Walker in conversation with Shalyn Claggett for a celebration of The Cherry Robbers. The highly anticipated second novel from Sarai Walker, following her “slyly subversive” (EW) cult-hit Dietland—a feminist gothic about the lone survivor of a cursed family of sisters, whose time may finally be up.
New Mexico, 2017: Sylvia Wren is one of the most important American artists of the past century. Known as a recluse, she avoids all public appearances. There’s a reason: she’s living under an assumed identity, having outrun a tragic past. But when a hungry journalist starts chasing her story, she’s confronted with whom she once was: Iris Chapel.
Connecticut, 1950: Iris Chapel is the second youngest of six sisters, all heiresses to a firearms fortune. They’ve grown up cloistered in a palatial Victorian house, mostly neglected by their distant father and troubled mother, who believes that their house is haunted by the victims of Chapel weapons. The girls long to escape, and for most of them, the only way out is marriage. But not long after the first Chapel sister walks down the aisle, she dies of mysterious causes, a tragedy that repeats with the second, leaving the rest to navigate the wreckage, to heart-wrenching consequences.
Ultimately, Iris flees the devastation of her family, and so begins the story of Sylvia Wren. But can she outrun the family curse forever?
Sarai Walker is the author of THE CHERRY ROBBERS ( May 2022) and DIETLAND (May 2015). DIETLAND has been published in more than a dozen countries and was adapted as a television series for AMC. Sarai has lectured on feminism and body image internationally, and has spoken about these topics widely in the media. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and elsewhere, and she worked as a writer and editor on an updated version of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College and a PhD in English from the University of London.
Shalyn Claggett is an Associate Professor of English at Mississippi State University where she teaches classes on Victorian literature and literary theory. She is the author of Equal Natures: Popular Brain Science and Victorian Women's Writing (forthcoming, SUNY Press) and the co-editor of Strange Science: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age. Her current book project, Victorian Cinema, examines Victorian magic lantern shows as the first mass-produced audio-visual narratives.
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"Sarai Walker has done it again. With The Cherry Robbers she upends the Gothic ghost story with a fiery feminist zeal." —Maria Semple
An AMC ORIGINAL SERIES and named Best Book of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, and others. Dietland is a gutsy, stinging satire of our beauty-obsessed society.
Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged.