Sunday, June 8
Douglas County Historical Society Second Sunday Talk
Metropolitan Community College, Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg. 21 (Mule Barn)
2 p.m., Free for members; suggested $5 donation for nonmembers
Reservations required at: email@example.com or 402-455-9990
Timothy Schaffert has turned historical romanticist with his sprawling new novel The Swan Gondola, whose backdrop is the 1898 Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition. Omaha's World's Fair is perfect fodder for this alternately Wizard of Oz-inspired flight of fancy and grimly realistic frontier tale. As a cow town aspires to more in the gilded age, a ventriloquist struggles to keep the affections of a mysterious beauty. A gondola, a balloon, a wicked villain and a farmhouse figure prominently in the goings-on. Schaffert, whose intense research not only informed the book but resulted in a digital archive, http://trans-mississippi.unl.edu, has become a veritable expert on the Fair. His acclaimed fifth novel is an Oprah Book Club selection. The author, an assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is founder-director of the Omaha Lit Fest.