FRIT Affiliate Professor Brett Kaplan’s novel "Rare Stuff" (2022) is a captivating story of a daughter’s quest for answers about her mother’s disappearance through remnants of memory and loss, identity, and hope. As Professor Kaplan’s explained in her Book Talk, featured by the Illini Union Book Store’s Authors’ Corner last month, languages are a key element in this journey. The novel’s fascinating human and non-human characters – including Yiddish-speaking whales that are part of a novel within the novel – communicate in many languages. When the main character Sid, a Jewish-American photographer, tracks down an Italian fashion designer in New York for information about an unpaired red shoe that once belonged to her mother, Sid and Paolo speak English with a phrase or two in Italian thrown into their conversation. Sid speaks French with her boyfriend André, a Melville scholar and a French national from Guadeloupe, and their words and sentences are left untranslated as their complex relationship unfolds and ultimately helps Sid overcome the trauma of losing parents.

Professor Kaplan’s novel has been published in paperback edition in English by Spuyten Duyvil Publishing in August 2022.

The link to her Book Talk @ Illinois can be found here:

Congratulations, Professor Kaplan!