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A Tale of Beijing, Breast Cancer and Bringing a Buddha Back to Portland

the foremost good fortuen, a memoir by susan conley, portland, maine

Portland writer Susan Conley is about to embark on a book tour for her debut memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune. The book is about moving from Portland to Beijing for a two year stint with her husband and two sons. What could have been another tale of an American abroad took a poignant turn when Susan discovered that she had breast cancer, and her own body—even more than China—became strange and other. A stark and intimate narrative emerged in the telling that, in the words of Peggy Orenstein in the New York Times Magazine is “a treasure …one that explores the meaning of our lives, the meaning of motherhood, the meaning of partnership.” In a starred review, Publisher's Weekly describes the book as “Luminous….Conley’s writing is at once spare and strong…[She] pulls the reader into her world like a close friend.” There is is a chapter excerpt in the New York Times Magazine today called  "Starter Buddha," that is "about looking for talismans in Beijing's largest flea market after my cancer treatments were over. The Buddha head is alive and well and perched in the living room now in Portland, Maine." Susan is also included in a profile of six Maine writers in the Maine Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2011 issue. Susan writes that her book tour includes "twelve cities so far—bookstores, universities, hospital reading series, cancer survivor groups, book groups. You name it. The book has a story to tell about the changing face of China, about families dealing with cancer and we want to get that message out there. Can you let me know if the book  might be a fit for your group or your town?" Susan can be contacted (and her book can be pre-ordered) through her beautifully designed website and you can meet her in person at her book launch reading at Longfellow Books in Portland, Feb. 10, 7:00 PM. We wish her the foremost good fortune in the new year!

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