Yesterday the Toronto Random House office had a bookseller reception for authors Avner Mandelman and David Mitchell. Each author spoke briefly about their books and had a signing.
Mr. Mandleman spoke first about why it took 36 years to write The Debba. The novel is about a former military assassin whose father, a war hero, has died. Once in Tel Aviv, he discovers that in order to receive his inheritance, he must stage a play called the Debba, which his father wrote, and which was only staged once, causing a riot at the time. From the book flap, "The Debba is a mythological Arab hyena that can turn into a man who lures Jewish children away from their families. To the Arabs he is a heroic national symbol; to the Jews he is a terrorist." Sounds interesting.
David Mitchell spoke on his new book, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I took the liberty of video taping his talk, and am glad I did. He's a very personable author and his talk, though short, was full of humour. I especially liked how he mentions that writing isn't just ideas, it's also discipline. And that writing different genres is harder than it seems.