Drawn to Reading

Meet two author/artists at M&Q. Ron Tanner discusses Kiss Me, Stranger: An Illustrated Novel–:30pm, Monday, March 7. He will be joined by local graphic artist Lars Martinson.

Featuring over fifty illustrations by the author, Kiss Me, Stranger is a comical and tragic commentary on war, violence, and consumerism. Set in an unnamed country sometime in the past, present, or future, Kiss Me, Stranger is the story of one woman’s attempts to keep her family together while a civil war rages around her. Penelope, her husband and her fourteen children live in a small war-torn country built atop a landfill. After her husband and eldest son are drafted by opposing factions in the war, Penelope and her remaining children, desolate and nearly starving, are forced to scavenge for scrap–comprised of discarded consumer goods such as computers, televisions and automobiles–in the bombed-out city. When the government scrap collector makes an unreasonable demand in already unreasonable circumstances, Penelope slaps him across the face, leading to her arrest. Her subsequent escape sends her family on a journey literally into the heart of the landfill, where they come face to face with the stupidity, destruction and at times, dark humor, of war and modern consumer society.

“Ron Tanner’s Kiss Me, Stranger would be remarkable for the eerie simplicity of the text alone, but his seemingly guileless illustration flip this impressive book into another dimension, well outside the spectrum of post-apocalyptic narratives than runs from Riddley Walker to The Road.”–Madison Smartt Bell

Ron Tanner’s awards for fiction include a Faulkner Society gold medal, a Pushcart Prize, a New Letters Award first prize, a Best of the Web Award, and many others. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including The Iowa Review, West Branch, and The Quarterly. His collection of stories, A Bed of Nails, won both the G.S. Sharat Chandra award and the Towson Prize for Literature. He teaches writing at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, and directs the Marshall Islands Story Project.


Lars Martinson’s Tonoharu (Parts One and Two) tell the story of Dan Wells, an assistant junior high school teacher in the rural Japanese village of Tonoharu. Isolated from those around him by language and cultural barriers, he leads a solitary existence, until the day an unrequited crush extends him a dinner invitation. What follows shakes up Dan’s quiet life and expands his social circle into unexpected quarters. But do these new associates exert an influence that is beneficial, or detrimental?

Lars Martinson was born on Mother’s Day, 1977. He has met a princess, seen a five-legged cow, and eaten raw octopus eggs. From 2003 to 2006 he taught English in Fukuoka, Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. In 2007 he received the prestigious Xeric Grant. He lives in Minneapolis. You can learn more at www.larsmartinson.com.

Details on this and all our events http://www.magersandquinn.com/includes/templates/magersandquinn/images/upcoming2.jpgare here.–David E