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Crime of Being

Alice Lichtenstein

335 pages
Upper Hand Press Llc
On a Good Friday in a picturesque village in Upstate New York, the spring weather is unusually warm, and school is closed. It's an ideal day for tanning and partying in the park until Shawnee Padrushky, age 17, drives up in his dad's new pick-up and comes out shooting with one victim in mind—Gunther Smith—the only black student in Shawnee's class, the adopted son of white parents.The Crime of Being explores the effects of a racial incident—how it divides a seemingly homogenous community over the course of a summer and exposes its dark secrets. Tarred by the media as “the most racist town in America,” the people of Lake Village face tangled questions of whether racism or insanity were at the root of a white teenager's violent assault of his black classmate, and whether the community as a whole can be implicated. Until the incident, the Cannons' and the Padrushkys' lives rarely intersected, but in its aftermath, their trajectories run strangely parallel as they are forced to look at how they have managed (and mismanaged) their parental responsibilities. Ironically, Shawnee and Gunther, perpetrator and victim, find themselves sharing the territory of otherness as their definitions of self are changed forever.
Author Bio
Alice Lichtenstein received her MFA from Boston University where she was named the Boston University Fellow in Creative Writing. She has received a New York Foundation of the Arts Grant in Fiction and the Barbara Deming Award in Fiction. She has twice been a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Alice is the author of three novels: The Genius of the World (Zoland Books, 2000); Lost, (Scribner, 2010); and the forthcoming, The Crime of Being (Upper Hand Press, 2019). Lost was a long-list Finalist for the Dublin IMPAC International Award in Fiction. Lichtenstein’s story, “Revision,” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize Award. She has published stories in several literary journals, including: Narrative Magazine; Post Road, Short Story, and Digital Americana. Lichtenstein teaches fiction-writing at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. She has also taught fiction-writing at Boston University, Wheaton College, Lesley College, and the Harvard University Summer School.