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Release: Nov. 2, 2001

Writers' Workshop faculty member Ethan Canin will be Nov. 3 'Saturday Scholars' speaker

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Short-story writer and novelist Ethan Canin, a faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from and discuss his most recent novel "Carry Me Across the Water" for the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences "Saturday Scholar" series at 10 a.m. Nov. 3 in Room 40 of UI Schaeffer Hall.

Joanne Wilkinson described the book for the American Library Association's Booklist, "In Canin's fourth novel, he tells the story of 78-year-old German immigrant August Kleinman. Having recently lost his beloved wife and sensing that the end is near, August flashes back to key moments in his past, struggling to see the patterns that have shaped his life.

"He escaped Nazi Germany when he was just a boy, and his mother's courage and counsel ('Take the advice of no one') always stayed with him. He fought in World War II, married his high-school sweetheart, had three children and made a fortune by starting his own brewery. August misses his wife terribly and frets about what to do with his money, but the key moment he returns to again and again is a frightening confrontation he had with a young Japanese soldier in a cave. He ultimately decides to go to Japan, where he intends to make reparations to the family of the young soldier."

Kirkus Reviews recommended the book as "A richly detailed, intriguingly fragmented chronicle of the personal history and turbulent inner life of a prosperous German-American businessman… It signals a new, and very promising‚ stage in Canin's career."

Canin, who is a graduate of both the UI Writers' Workshop and the Harvard Medical School, has also written the novels "For Kings and Planets" and "Blue River," and two collections of stories, "The Palace Thief" and "Emperor of the Air." He has been a member of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty since 1998.

A critique of "Emperor of the Air" in Kirkus Reviews called the book, "one of the strongest first story collections in years, from a generous writer with heart and style and the power to surprise." And Walker Percy wrote, "Ethan Canin's short stories are dazzling, at times breathtaking, at other times heartbreaking."

"For Kings and Planet" was a Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year" and was one of "Fresh Air's" Top 10 Books of the Year. Newsday's critic called "For Kings and Planets," "Breathtaking... Outstanding. ..Scott Fitzgerald himself would have been honored by his company." A Booklist review of "The Palace Thief" stated, "If one were to diagram Canin 's fictional form, it would have to be of classical proportions: clean, noble and golden."

The final "Saturday Scholar" event will be Nov. 17: "Lessons on Empowerment: Listening to the Voices of Entrepreneurial Women," featuring Salome Raheim, director of the UI School of Social Work. For information on the series, visit the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences webpage at

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at (319) 335-2610.

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