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Ithaca author Melanie Conroy-Goldman put decades of work into her first book, “The Likely World” and was prepared for a book tour befitting such an effort. 

Then, of course, the coronavirus pandemic hit. But luckily, Conroy-Goldman, a professor at Hobart and William Smith,  has been able to effectively adapt. She will now hold a book launch at the Fingerlakes Drive-In theater in Auburn, NY, on Aug. 4 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., a rare opportunity for attendees to celebrate the launch on stage and accompanying screen. 

“I’ve spent 48 years writing ​’The Likely World’ and COVID-19 devastated my launch plan,” Conroy-Goldman said. “There are 10 virtual stops on my tour, for which I’m grateful, but I wanted to celebrate the book’s birthday with the many people who helped me bring it into the world and it wouldn’t be the same without safe in-person interactions. This is an incredible opportunity to do that.” 

Tickets for the event are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/likely-world-book-launch-save-the-date-tickets-110398045526 Free popcorn, soda and a “swag bag” will be provided, as well as a showing of ‘80s movie “Say Anything” following Conroy-Goldman’s launch. Admission is for one car, and fellow Ithaca author Bob Proehl will also be appearing at the event, chatting onstage with Conroy-Goldman. 

The book, which has drawn a rave review from Publishers Weekly, deals with whether or not a drug-addicted mother should give up her damaged child, told in a surreal style. 

“The Likely World attempts to answer that question, and some others, in a bizarro, post-modern coming of age story whose central actor is a fictional drug that generates alternate realities and amnesia,” states a press release accompanying the book launch announcement. “One of the most profound literary antagonists ever created, Cloud detours, manhandles and almost wipes clean Mellie Itzkowitz-Kearns’ search for salvation in dystopian America.”

The press release also boasts support for the book from literary figures Mary Gaitskill, Chang-Rae Lee, Peter Ho Davis and Lidia Yuknavitch. 

“We’re working on lots of other ideas - like having guests hang a light from their side view mirror if they'd like me to come by and sign books and check in in person,” the announcement states. “People who are comfortable can set up chairs outside of their cars, and I can mingle. We’ll sell books to anyone who requests one at registration, and we’ll partner with a local bookstore to have copies available on the night too. Hashtag? #Parkandread”

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