Kaylie Jones, Daughter of Literary Lion James Jones, Reads From Latest Book
By Jenny Purdue
Kaylie Jones grew up with legends like Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Mary McCarthy, and Carlos Fuentes as part of her childhood, and didn’t fully understand their roles in American letters until she encountered them later in college literature courses. The daughter of James Jones, one of the post-World War II “new writers” perhaps best known for his novel From Here to Eternity and a mother who worked alongside Jacqueline Onassis as an editor at Doubleday, Kaylie Jones was to the manner born.
Kaylie Jones and Eva Hunter
Tue, Mar 1, 5:30–6:30pm
Jones went on to make a name in her own right with seven books—one of them, A Soldier’s Daughter Never Dies—made into a Merchant Ivory film; her own literary imprint, Kaylie Jones Books; teaching appointments at two universities; as well as private writing workshops. On March 1, Jones will read from her most recent novel, The Anger Meridian, set in San Miguel de Allende, in the Sala Quetzal, Biblioteca Pública, from 5:30 to 6:30pm.
Eva Hunter, author of The Lord of the Dolls: Voyage in Xochimilco, now a rare book; a memoir, A Little Mormon Girl; the novella, The Council of Women: Atonement in San Miguel; and executive editor of the literary compilation SOL: English Writing in Mexico; will make a cameo appearance with Jones, reading from her work-in-progress, a novel, The Way We Are.
The Anger Meridian is a story of a woman who retreats to this city after finding that everything she believed about her husband and their life together was flawed. Written in the elegant “unreliable narrator” form pioneered by English writer Ford Maddox Ford in his book The Good Soldier, the plot device depends on the reader coming to distrust, and eventually know more than, the narrator. The unreliable narrator device, Jones says, “is the only way, really, to make a study of denial in literature. Denial has many layers. We create many protective shields for ourselves, and every once in a while, one shield will go down, and a moment of realization will occur, but then, a few hours later or the next morning, the will to deny will be ten times stronger and another, even stronger shield will go up.”
Beverly Donofrio, former resident of San Miguel de Allende and the author of, among other books, Riding in Cars With Boys, says of Jones, “In this current publishing atmosphere, when she found too many books she loved being rejected, never one to take anything sitting down, Kaylie approached Johnny Temple at Akashic Press. She proposed founding her own imprint, Kaylie Jones Books.”
About that imprint, Jones says, “We are publishing literary novels with a social conscience, although it might be more obvious in some books than others. We’ve published seven so far and have had a national best-seller, a book that was turned down by all the major publishing houses. We have two more coming out this spring and summer. “It’s a success beyond my wildest dreams.”