In a discussion led by Vandana Kumar, publisher of India Currents magazine, and Richard Springer, reporter from India West newspaper, Michelle revealed that this book was her” love-letter” to the city of San Francisco, her now adopted home-town. Detailed research went in to accurately describing the history/geography of this glamorous city and the book went through numerous revisions before the final version was published.
Richard remarked that the book, based on one single event of the mysterious disappearance of six-year-old Emma in the dense beach fog of San Francisco is captivating till the very end. He complimented Michelle for doing a marvelous job at not giving away any clues and yet being able to keep the reader’s interest. He pointed out that the significant relationship between time and memory is the main theme of the book.
The author discussed how the missing child was a deciding factor for the turn of relationship between Jake, the father, and Abby, the fiancée, who lost the child. She emphasized that although Emma was a difficult child, Abby loved her like a true mother would and was torn apart by this tragedy which had overturned the life of the man she loves. Along with horrendous guilt, she also had relentless faith and undying hope which made her believe that Emma was alive. Jake, on the other hand, turned out to be a rational man who needed closure and could not deal with the ambiguity of his loss.
Kumar asked what it took to be a devoted parent. Richmond responded that it is very subjective and added, “The critically acclaimed book, Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother by Amy Chua could be one extreme of devoted parenting. However, today, after the current natural disaster in Japan, at the other extreme, a Japanese mother struggling to get food and water for her child could very well be fulfilling the requirement of a devoted parent.”
The discussion led into the future of printed material versus digital books when Springer opened up the dialogue about whether publishers would cease to exist someday. The panel concluded that there would always be a market for both and that paper books are here to stay forever.
The author wrapped up the event by inviting the audience for a brief Q&A session which was followed by a book-signing.
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