This Thursday, Minnesota author Charles Baxter celebrates the paperback release of his newest book, Gryphon: New and Selected Stories (Pantheon), a collection consisting of 23 pieces, seven of which are new. Each story is a focused, intimate portrait that hinges on a moment of extraordinary change in the lives of ordinary people. For example, the title tale features a kooky, fortune-telling substitute teacher who, in an attempt to open her students' minds, tells them about the ancient gryphon and how she actually saw the creature on a trip to Egypt. Self-described as a "Midwestern writer in a postmodern age," Baxter pens his characters in a way as to pull the reader close while simultaneously holding them at arm's length, wanting more. He currently teaches in the M.F.A. program at the University of Minnesota, and has a prolific backlist of published works, including novels The Feast of Love (which was nominated for a National Book Award) and The Soul Thief; short-story collections Believers and Through the Safety Net; and multiple poetry collections and essays.
Thu., Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m., 2012