In two weeks I'll be cooling my heels in the very town about which I've written two books and innumerable blog posts: Fairhope, Alabama. I've released The Fair Hope of Heaven/A Hundred Years After Utopia in paperback, and will be signing copies at the beloved indie bookstore Page and Palette November 22 from 2-4 P.M.
If you've followed this blog at all, you know about The Fair Hope of Heaven. My original title was When We Had the Sky, and much of the material was contained in the first books, Meet Me at The Butterfly Tree, but this book really came to life after I had lived in Hoboken for several months and read a delightful little book called Utopia, New Jersey. It inspired me to take a more positive look at Fairhope's utopian origins and compare them to the Fairhope of today. There is much history of the real Fairhope in The Fair Hope of Heaven, and some conjecture about its present and future.
In addition to chapters about Upton Sinclair's brief life in Fairhope, and that of E.B. Gaston, the founder of the village, there are chapters about the eccentric Communist Willard Edwards (who left Fairhope for what he expected to be greener pastures in Soviet Russia under Stalin) and Dian Stitt Arnold, who built her own utopian life around horses, dogs, and children. I'll be discussing Fairhope history and the earlier chapters of the book at the Fairhope Museum of History at a tea (made from Fairhope-grown tea leaves) on November 19 at 2 P.M. and reading the chapter on Dian Arnold and her mentor Blanche Brown at 2 P.M. November 20 at the Marietta Johnson Museum.
If you are in the Fairhope area, I hope you'll come to one of the events. If you don't live anywhere nearby, the book is available at amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble.com. I'd love to meet you and talk with you about the Fairhope I remember and the Fairhope you want to get to know.