Leslie Stella reads from her new book Unimaginable Zero Summer

Apr ’05
12:00 am

Leslie Stella reads & signsUnimaginable SummerSaturday, May 21st, 7:00 PM
Leslie Stella?s third novel, UNIMAGINABLE ZERO SUMMER is a fun and humorous tale of seven thirty-somethings in Chicago who gather together for a round of cocktails, dinner parties, and karaoke over the summer before their fifteen-year high school reunion. As they rehash old times, they uncover the slippery foundations on which they?ve based friendships and marriages, and analyze the shaky criteria for what constitutes as happiness and fulfillment. Stella?s latest work is full of wit, sarcasm, obscure music references, and the charming but eccentric group of characters that she is best known for creating.
Verity Presti, on the cusp of thirty-four, is dealing with some issues. She divides her time between an adorably neurotic boyfriend who lives with his parents; her divorced father, who lives alone and is enmeshed in a weird suburban dating scene; and her dead-end job as a bookstore clerk at Barnes & Noble. Verity?s hapless boyfriend, the unfortunately named Charlie Brown?like his namesake, all-around lovable loser? is a victim of the dot-com bust and has recently discovered his true calling as an urban shaman, a modern-day medicine man capable of predicting baseball scores and channeling lost pets. Verity and Charlie are simultaneously on the verge of marriage and a breakup, precipitated by the modern requirement to build a career, save money, have children, settle down, and live free, all at once. Amidst all the turmoil, Verity still sees a happy future for herself, even if no one else does.
Craig and Carolyn, the sickeningly perfect high-school sweethearts are now married with the perfect house and kids, although their relationship may be far from the image they project. Stan, once the object of Verity?s affections and desires, is now married to Laurel, a struggling poet who falls under the spell of Charlie Brown. And then there?s Will, a rage-a-holic Karaoke Jockey who still carries a torch for Verity. As the reunion draws closer, the group of seven takes stock of their lives and embarks on a roller-coaster journey to summer?s end, battling the memories of fifteen years of freak-outs and failure. Stella?s quick wit is sure to make you laugh until you cry, and vice versa. UNIMAGINABLE ZERO SUMMER is a quirky, modern comedy about the insecurities, foibles, and uncertainties we all have, and hope nobody else will notice.
LESLIE STELLA is a founding editor of Lumpen magazine and the author of two novels, Fat Bald Jeff (Grove, 2001) and The Easy Hour (TRP, 2003). Her work has been published in The Mississippi Review, The Adirondack Review, Bust, and Easy Listener, and anthologized in The Book of Zines (Henry Holt, 1997). She was nominated for a 2004 Pushcart Prize in short fiction.