FREE IN-PERSON EVENT: Bookshop Santa Cruz is delighted to welcome bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea (The House of Broken Angels) back to the store for a reading and signing of his new novel Good Night, Irene, which was inspired by his own family's history: his mother's heroism as a Red Cross volunteer during World War II. Urrea will be in conversation with local bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler.
This event is cosponsored by The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz.
"Good Night, Irene is a beautiful, heartfelt novel that celebrates the intense power and durability of female friendship while shining a light on one of the fascinating lost women's stories of World War II." —Kristin Hannah
What if a friendship forged on the front lines of war defines a life forever? In the tradition of The Nightingale and Transcription, Good Night, Irene is a searing epic based on the magnificent and true story of heroic Red Cross women.
In 1943, Irene Woodward abandons an abusive fiance in New York to enlist with the Red Cross and head to Europe. She makes fast friends in training with Dorothy Dunford, a towering Midwesterner with a ferocious wit. Together they are part of an elite group of women, nicknamed Donut Dollies, who command military vehicles called Clubmobiles at the font line, providing camaraderie and a tast of home that may be the only solace before troops head into battle.
After D-Day, these two intrepid friends join the Allied soldiers streaming into France. Their time in Europe will see them embroiled in danger, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of Buchenwald. Through her friendship with Dororothy and a love affair with a courageous American fighter pilot named Hans, Irene learns to trust again. Her most fervent hope, which becomes more precarious by the day, is for all three of them to survive the war intact.
Taking as inspiration his mother's own Red Cross service, Luis Alberto Urrea has delivered an overlooked story of women's heroism in World War II. With its affecting and uplifting portrait of friendship and valor in harrowing circumstances, Good Night, Irene powerfully demonstrates yet again that Urrea's "gifts as a storyteller are prodigious" (NPR).
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of nonfiction The Devil's Highway, now in its 30th paperback printing, Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of numerous other works of nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, including the national bestsellers The Hummingbird's Daughter and The House of Broken Angels, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. A recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, among many other honors, he lives outside Chicago and teachers at the University of Illinois Chicago.
Karen Joy Fowler is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including The Jane Austen Book Club and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which was the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.