9th Ave: Sylvia Brownrigg with Anne Raeff

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 - 7:00pm

This event will be held at our 1231 9th Ave location in the Inner Sunset. 

The cover of Syvlia Brownrigg's memoir The Whole Staggering Mystery: A Story of Fathers Lost and Found. The cover is yellow with silhouettes of masculine faces looking in opposite directions in pink, blue, and green.
Join us on Tuesday, April 30 at 7pm PT when Sylvia Brownrigg joins us for the release of her memoir, The Whole Staggering Mystery: A Story of Fathers Lost and Found, with Anne Raeff at 9th Ave

Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online at the link below


Praise for The Whole Staggering Mystery
"The Whole Staggering Mystery is a remarkable achievement. Spanning decades and continents, yet psychologically intimate and precise, bringing to vivid life the unforgettable characters that people Sylvia Brownrigg's family, this haunting book offers at once the satisfaction of memoir and the revelations of fiction." ––Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs

"The Whole Staggering Mystery is just that: at its heart is the secret of Brownrigg’s particular family—which takes us from Northern California to New Mexico, to England, Asia and East Africa, from the 1810s to the 1930s to the 1960s straight through to today. But there is also the universal tangle of fathers and sons, dads and daughters: the possibility and impossibility we all feel of knowing and understanding and healing our pasts, of making peace with those who have gone before, or at least making peace with ourselves. Brownrigg tells it all in prose that is gorgeous and wry, slipping seamlessly between the real and the imagined, layering stories—which, in the end, are all we have—upon stories, to arrive at something that feels deeply, urgently true." —Peggy Orenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Girls & Sex and Cinderella Ate My Daughter

"Engrossing . . . Brownrigg’s skillful interweaving of slippery narrative threads adds up to an immersive reading experience." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About The Whole Staggering Mystery
Sylvia Brownrigg's “wise, intimate, and deliciously entertaining memoir" (Carol Edgarian) reconstructs a poignant story of fathers lost and found.

When Sylvia Brownrigg received a package addressed to her father that had been lost for over fifty years, she wanted to deliver it to him before it was too late. She did not expect that her father, Nick, would choose not to open it. A few years later, she and her brother finally did.

Nick, an absent father, was a would-be writer and back-to-the-lander who lived off the grid in Northern California. Nick’s own father, Gawen—also absent—had been a wellborn Englishman who wrote a Bloomsbury-like novel about lesbian lovers, before moving to Kenya and ultimately dying a mysterious death at age twenty-seven. Brownrigg was told Gawen had likely died by suicide.

Reconstructing Gawen’s short, colorful life from revelations in the package takes her through glamorous 1930s London and staid Pasadena, toward the last gasp of the British Empire in Kenya, and from there, deep into the California redwoods, where Nick later carved out a rugged path in the wilderness, keeping his English past at bay. Vividly weaving together the lives of her father and grandfather, through memory and imagination, Brownrigg explores issues of sexuality and silences, and childhoods fractured by divorce. In her uncovering of this lost family, she writes movingly of daughterhood and of parenthood, gradually making her own story whole.

About Sylvia Brownrigg
Sylvia Brownrigg 
is the author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including the novels Morality TaleThe Delivery Room, winner of the Northern California Book Award; Pages for You, winner of the Lambda Award; and The Metaphysical Touch; and a collection of stories, Ten Women Who Shook the World. Brownrigg’s works have been included in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lists of notable fictions and have been translated into several languages. Her novel for children, Kepler’s Dream, written under the name Juliet Bell was published in 2012 and turned into a feature film. Brownrigg lives with her family in London and in Berkeley, California.


About Anne Raeff
Anne Raeff’s short story collection, The Jungle Around Us won the 2015 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. It was chosen by Series Editor Nancy Zaris. The collection was also a finalist for the California Book Award and was on The San Francisco Chronicle's 100 Best Books of 2017 list. She has published three novels, Only the River, Winter Kept Us Warm, which was the silver medal recipient of the California Book Award,  and Clara Mondschein's Melancholia. Raeff’s stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica among other places. She lives in San Francisco.

The Whole Staggering Mystery: A Story of Fathers Lost and Found By Sylvia Brownrigg Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640096561
Availability: Click the TITLE to view store availability
Published: Counterpoint - April 23rd, 2024

Sylvia Brownrigg's “wise, intimate, and deliciously entertaining memoir" (Carol Edgarian) reconstructs a poignant story of fathers lost and found

Pages For Her: A Novel By Sylvia Brownrigg Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640090545
Availability: NOT on our shelves now. Usually ships from warehouse in several days.
Published: Counterpoint - July 10th, 2018

Two women reunite decades after their passionate affair in this “nuanced, assured, and razor-sharp” novel about motherhood, womanhood, and “what it means to be alive” ( Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train).

“A complex portrait of two women’s sexuality.”

Pages for You: A Novel By Sylvia Brownrigg Cover Image
Temporarily Unavailable
ISBN: 9780312420048
Published: Picador - April 6th, 2002

Winner of a 2002 Lambda Literary Award

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