Temim Fruchter, author of City of Laughter, in conversation with Aube Rey Lescure

Porter Square Books is thrilled to welcome Temim Fruchter for her novel City of Laughter! Author Aube Rey Lescure will join Fruchter in conversation. This event will take place on Friday, May 17 at 7pm at Porter Square Books (25 White St. Cambridge, MA 02140).

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A rich and riveting debut spanning four generations of Eastern European Jewish women bound by blood, half-hidden secrets, and the fantastical visitation of a shapeshifting stranger over the course of 100 years

An ambitious, delirious novel that tangles with queerness, spirituality, and generational silence, City of Laughter announces Temim Fruchter as a fresh and assured new literary voice. The tale of a young queer woman stuck in a thicket of generational secrets, the novel follows her back to her family's origins, where ancestral clues begin to reveal a lineage both haunted and shaped by desire.

Ropshitz, Poland, was once known as the City of Laughter. As this story opens, an 18th century badchan, a holy jester whose job is to make wedding guests laugh, receives a visitation from a mysterious stranger--bringing the laughter the people of Ropshitz desperately need, and triggering a sequence of events that will reverberate across the coming century. In the present day, Shiva Margolin, recovering from the heartbreak of her first big queer love and grieving the death of her beloved father, struggles to connect with her guarded mother, who spends most of her time at the local funeral home. A student of Jewish folklore, Shiva seizes an opportunity to visit Poland, hoping her family's mysteries will make more sense if she walks in the footsteps of her great-grandmother Mira, about whom no one speaks. What she finds will make her question not only her past and her future, but also her present.

Electric and sharply intimate, City of Laughter zigzags between our universe and a tapestry of real and invented Jewish folklore, asking how far we can travel from the stories that have raised us without leaving them behind.


Temim Fruchter is a queer nonbinary anti-Zionist Jewish writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Maryland, and is the recipient of fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Vermont Studio Center, and a 2020 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. She is co-host of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn. Her debut novel, City of Laughter, is out now on Grove Atlantic.

Aube Rey Lescure is a French-Chinese-American writer. She grew up between Provence, northern China, and Shanghai, and graduated from Yale University in 2015. She worked in foreign policy before becoming an itinerant writer. Aube’s debut novel, River East, River West, is published by William Morrow/HarperCollins. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, LitHub, Electric Literature, The Millions. WBUR, The Florida Review Online, Litro, and more. Her essay “At the Bend of the Road” was selected for Best American Essays 2022.

Event date: 

Friday, May 17, 2024 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

RSVP Form: 

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City of Laughter By Temim Fruchter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802161284
Availability: In Stock: Click Title to See if it's in CAMBRIDGE or BOSTON
Published: Grove Press - January 16th, 2024


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