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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 10, 2004

Vendela Vida Reads 'Live From Prairie Lights' On WSUI Sept. 24

Vendela Vida, co-editor of The Believer magazine, will read from her first novel, "And Now You Can Go," at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24 on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be a free event at the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

Critic Claire Dederer explained, "The premise of Vendela Vida's terrific debut novel, 'And Now You Can Go,' seems at first a tad depressing, in a Bernard Goetz, New-York-in-the-1980s kind of way. The narrator, a young woman named Ellis, is walking in Riverside Park when she is held up at gunpoint. The man assures her he doesn't want her money, and he doesn't push her into the bushes to rape her.

"Ellis notices the designer name on his glasses: Giorgio Armani; she begins to obsess on this detail. Then she starts to recite poetry to him to cheer him up about life. The encounter ends as abruptly as it began, when the man simply runs away down the street. Even though no blood has been shed, Ellis's life is utterly changed."

A Publishers Weekly preview described the result as "an intriguing and auspicious debut."

In her recommendation, Joan Didion wrote, "'And Now You Can Go' is so fast, so mesmerizing to read, and so accomplished that it's hard to think of it as a first novel, which it is -- Vendela Vida has promise to spare."

Jonathan Ames, author of "The Extra Man," dubbed Vida's novel "An existential Perils-of-Pauline: A young woman is robbed -- at gun point! -- of her ability to feel. Whether or not she can learn anew how to love is the question at the heart of this wonderful new novel. Comedic yet serious, minimalist yet lush -- this is an exciting debut."

Vida's first book, "Girls on the Verge," grew out of her M.F.A. thesis at Columbia University.

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