A witty and winning new voice comes alive in this infectious road trip adventure with a rock-and-roll twist. Deborah Shapiro’s debut, The Sun in Your Eyes, blends the emotional nuance of Elena Ferrante with the potent nostalgia of High Fidelity, in a story of two women—one rich and alluring, the other just another planet in her dazzling orbit—and their fervid and troubled friendship.
In today’s post, Deborah shares her special relationship with libraries.
At the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, there’s an inscription by the entrance. It starts: “Here are enshrined the longing of great hearts…” I’ve always thought that’s a wonderful way to describe both what literature can be and the place that houses it. I don’t remember my first trip to that building, but it would’ve been over fifteen years ago, when I was recently out of college and living a few blocks away from that library. I’d been thrilled to find a room in a share with two strangers. It was a “garden” apartment, the kind of New York real estate euphemism for “you might wake up one morning to find weird mushrooms growing through the crumbling grout in your dank bathroom.” But I loved it. And I loved that it was so close to that wonderful library. At the time, I couldn’t afford to buy most of the books I wanted to read. But the library had just about whatever I could think of. More than that, getting a library card felt like a kind of accomplishment, like I was officially part of the city.
One of the first things I’ve done whenever I’ve moved some place new is get a library card. It’s a way of locating myself, of feeling at home. Maybe that has to do with the fact that my mother worked as a high school librarian. For me, libraries have always felt like places of both comfort and discovery.
I swear that my novel, The Sun in Your Eyes, is fiction, and not thinly-veiled autobiography. But, as they say, “write what you know,” and I knew the Central Library in Brooklyn well. I couldn’t resist having one of my characters—at one point a young, aspiring writer in New York—notice and reference that inscription in the façade. It seemed to say, concisely, so much about her desires, her ambition, what she valued and loved.
Thanks, Deborah! Also, make sure to take a listen to Deborah’s Spotify playlist inspired by the book!