Laurie Alberts teaches fiction and creative nonfiction in the Vermont College MFA and Writing Program. She is the author of six books, including Fault Line, The Price of Land in Shelby (1996), Goodnight Silky Sullivan (1995), and the Michener Award-winning Tempting Fate (1987). She lives in the woods of southeastern Vermont.
Between Revolutions: An American Romance with Russia In Between Revolutions, Michener Award–winning author Laurie Alberts relives her experiences teaching in Moscow and Leningrad as a participant in an American Field Service exchange program before the fall of the Soviet Union. Her memoir provides a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary Russians during the last years of the Soviet empire, while also portraying the difficulties of American/Soviet relations on the most personal of levels—the ways in which Cold War politics warped human connections. Alberts begins her tale in 1982 with her arrival in Moscow and describes her interactions with the students and her complicated friendships with some of the teachers. Her own novelty as an American allows her to be privy to the intrigues, romances, and humor through which these Russians coped with their difficult, frustrating lives. The isolation of her experience and her romantic notions of Russia, as well as her need to belong, led her to make choices that were not always the best. When she moves to Leningrad, Alberts unwittingly develops her own intrigue by beginning an affair with a charming but somewhat shady Russian named Kolya. Her tryst with Kolya mirrors her own lifelong fascination with Russia, a place that, despite her efforts, she will never quite understand. After leaving Leningrad for six months, she returns to find that the political turmoil of the country has altered her connection to Kolya irreparably. Alberts’s story ends in 2002, when a return visit to Russia—and Kolya— reveals the drastic changes brought by the fall of Communism to the lives of her friends and to their nation. Reviews: "The characters are so vivid, the relationships so precisely detailed and convincing, that I did not want to put this book down. Between Revolutions is as involving and moving as a novel."—Kelly Cherry, author of We Can Still Be Friends and The Exiled Heart "From the beginning, I knew I was in the hands of a seasoned storyteller, seamlessly weaving together her material. The presentation is scenic and involving, the character and settings vividly drawn, the detail, anecdotes, and observations illuminating and always contributing to a tightly constructed narrative."—Nancy McCabe, author of Meeting Sophie: A Memoir of Adoption
Lost Daughters A novel that turns the traditional adoption narrative on its head as it explores how lies move through generations. For 20 years, Allie Heller, first met in Laurie Alberts's novel Tempting Fate, has been haunted by the memory of her daughter, Lila, given up for adoption at birth. "Your absence is the center of my life," she begins, in an account of her life she intends to share in an imagined reunion with her grown child. Allie's troubled history, a fractured tale which she prepares for Lila, "to convince you that I couldn't help my long-ago defection," alternates with chapters about Lila, who was raised in a peripatetic military family. Lila, having just undergone an abortion, "eliminating the only blood relative she may ever know," and feeling that her college career is in shambles, decides to fill in the missing pieces of her own personal history by locating her birth mother. On Lila's 21st birthday, when the adoption files can be opened, Allie sets out to track her daughter down. The converging quest of mother and daughter for each other comes to a shocking and disturbing conclusion, one that fully reveals the true character of all the protagonists and the deceptions that have shaped their lives Reviews: "Alberts has a unique way of writing. There is a mystique about it that is both charming, original and filled with humor as well as tragedy. She has written three other novels that I now have every intention of reading." - Independent Publisher "Examines the complexities and pain of mother-daughter relationships . . . [Allie] cautions her daughter that they're descended from a long line of 'mothers who lie.' The shocking nature of those lies and their consequences lend power to this affecting novel." – Booklist
Fault Line In 1969 Kim Janik was a young man shining with promise—handsome, brilliant, studying at Harvard on a physics scholarship—and he was in love with Laurie Alberts, a troubled teenager from a wealthy Boston suburb. Twenty-five years later, when Kim’s naked and decomposing body was discovered on the Wyoming prairie, one photograph—that of the Harvard junior and the seventeen-year-old—was found in his abandoned car. This book is Alberts’s attempt to piece together what happened in between. An accomplished novelist, Alberts brings to her task the searching intelligence, clear-eyed candor, and narrative grace that have marked her previous books. She painstakingly recreates her turbulent relationship with Kim and traces the twisted course that led to his eventual ruin. A story of obsessive love, societal upheaval, and the warring impulses of survival and self-destruction, Fault Line moves beyond the limits of the traditional memoir into the realms of biography and literary journalism. With interviews and letters, Alberts augments her lucid reflections in an effort to comprehend Kim’s life and death and her place in both. The result is a singular work that melds the inner and outer worlds with a seamless intensity. Reviews: "Exploring what role she might have played in [her first love's] tragic life and death, Alberts lays open her own life and youthful indiscretions, ultimately coming across as simply human. The result is poignant, if painful, reading. Highly recommended for libraries collecting contemporary fiction and literary memoirs."—Library Journal. "In this latest entry in the American Lives series, novelist Alberts writes a candid, self-lacerating memoir about her first love. . . . A thoughtful, wrenching portrait of obsessive love."—Booklist. "The essence of Alberts’s writing in this book is that she is telling the truth. Her use of metaphor allows readers to sense the story's stark reality. . . . Her descriptions evoke a sense of awe at the scenery, tempered by the rawness of Laurie’s journey of self-discovery. . . . Laurie reached within the chasms of her soul, and crossed over her own fault line."—Cheryl Freier, ForeWord. "Laurie Alberts has crafted her raw, devastatingly honest memoir with the language skills of a poet."—Rocky Mountain News. "[A] piercing memoir. . . . [T]his is an utterly compelling elegy, a courageous and remorseful confession, and a candid and affecting inquiry into responsibility, influence, and fate."—Donna Seaman, Speakeasy. “Fault Line is as compelling a piece of nonfiction as I have read. Alberts expertly weaves a story that feels honest to the bone and leaves the reader raw and bereft yet grateful for such a skillful and heartfelt tale.”—Robin Hemley, author of Invented Eden. “This beautifully written and unself-sparing memoir rips open the wounds of first love in search of what one person can be held accountable for in the ruin of another.”—Chip Brown, author of Good Morning Midnight. “In a book unrivaled in its precision of memory, Laurie Alberts describes a personal era marked by a definitive historical time. Her friend Kim’s peculiar expatriation and mysterious death inspire Alberts’s quest—even as they mark that quest as nearly unnavigable, a fault line running between past and present, its sorrows the margins, its solace the faintest, quaking epicenter.”—Abby Frucht, author of Licorice and Are You Mine? "As non-fiction, the narrative gives a distressing glimpse of the less-glamorous, sordid world of drug and alcohol addiction that went hand-in-hand in many cases during a decade often symbolized by happy, pot-smoking hippies and Beatles music. As a memoir, "Fault Line" is a well-written atonement, a requiem." --Melissa MacKenzie, Vermont Sunday Magazine.
Price of Land in Shelby - Stock on Hand at Store!!! $14.95 A rich, multigenerational novel narrates a Vermont family's saga of suffering and survival, of loyalty to the land and escape from it. Shelby, Vermont is a place torn between stasis and change, a contemporary New England town "where time was revealed not by geology, but by tumbling stone walls" and, increasingly, the division of family farms into "executive lots" where rich Flatlanders build expensive homes. Against this backdrop the 30-year saga of the Chartrain family is played out in a novel both searing in its portrayal of the realities behind the picture postcard views and incisive in its truths about the indomitability of the human spirit. Reviews: "As a portrayal of the tension between staying and leaving -- a town, a marriage -- The Price of Land in Shelby is strong, sensitive, and true. Alberts excels at small negotiations between parents and children, between siblings, and within people at the instant they feel fate's door slamming shut on their dreams. For it's then that her characters show their strength, a decidedly unglamorous heroism that prizes 'just going on, . . . taking care of your kids, remaining kind'." -- Boston Book Review