Wednesday books in Brooklyn: A meditation on war and ‘Starstruck’


Brooklyn-based author Jennifer Cody Epstein will speak at BookCourt on Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. Photo courtesy of BookCourt

According to Brooklyn Eagle, acclaimed Brooklyn author Jennifer Cody Epstein will appear at BookCourt on Wednesday, March 13, to read from her latest novel “The Gods of Heavenly Punishment.” Epstein, who has studied and worked as a journalist in Japan, tells the fascinating story of several American and Japanese families who, despite their differences, are inextricably connected by a heartbreaking act of war.

Yoshi Kobayashi, a Japanese teenager, is on her way home one evening when an American attack on her city kills thousands of citizens. Suddenly separated from all that is familiar, Yoshi is catapulted into a life dominated by people who are considered the enemy. She meets Billy, an Occupation soldier; Cam, a bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese army; and Anton, an architect who was instrumental in modernizing Tokyo’s prewar skyline. In the face of tragedy, Yoshi must coexist with these outsiders as she searches for comfort and safety.

Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of the international best-selling novel “The Painter from Shanghai.” She lived for five years in Japan, first as a student and then as a journalist. She now lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.

The event begins at 7 p.m. BookCourt is located at 163 Court St. in Cobble Hill.

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Tonight, New York City-based author Rachel Shukert will appear at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO to celebrate the release of her latest novel “Starstruck.” The story, which takes place in 1930s Hollywood, involves teenage girls who struggle to navigate their transition into adulthood while striving to be in the spotlight. 

Shukert reveals through her ambitious characters the intense rivalry that has always characterized Hollywood. Margaret Frobisher arrives in Los Angeles and is discovered by an influential agent, but despite her success, she must always look over shoulder. Gabby Preston, a mere 16 years-old, is already experienced in show-biz, though she is caught between her domineering mother and the studio; Amanda Farraday attempts to manage her fierce determination and sophistication; and Diana Chesterfield is a beautiful young actress who has mysteriously vanished.

While the girls enjoy at least some measure of success, they simultaneously must come to terms with the fact that fame comes with its fair share of trade-offs.

Rachel Shukert is the author of “Everything Is Going to Be Great” and  “Have You No Shame?” Fascinated since childhood by the Golden Age of Hollywood, Shukert used to stay up all night watching old movies and fall asleep the next day at school. Shukert grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from New York University.  She lives in New York City with her husband. Visit her at

The event begins at 7 p.m. powerHouse is located at 37 Main St. in DUMBO.

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