Jake Wolff received an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Florida State University. His stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Tin House, One Story, and American Short Fiction. He lives in Orlando, Florida, where he is an assistant professor of English at the University of Central Florida.
The Madcap Narrative
A globe-trotting, century-spanning adventure story, Jake Wolff’s The History of Living Forever takes us from Maine to Romania to Easter Island and introduces a cast of unforgettable characters. Powered by pitch-perfect dialogue, lovable characters, and surprising optimism, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe? is a modern-day take on Graham Greene’s classic Travels with My Aunt, a novel about grabbing life, and holding on—wherever it may take you. Join these two authors as they discuss their new novels about madcap adventures.
Charles Parrott is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University where he directs the KSU Tellers storytelling troupe. He has coached his students in creating hundreds of stories, ranging from mythology, folklore, history, to personal narrative, devised theatre, and sketch comedy. He holds a PhD in performance studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and regularly publishes scholarship about storytelling and performance.
The History of Living Forever
Conrad Aybinder is a boy with a secret; sixteen and ready for anything. A chemistry genius, he has spent the summer on an independent-study project with his favorite teacher, Sammy Tampari. Sammy is also Conrad’s first love. But the first day of senior year, the students are informed that Mr. Tampari is dead. Rumors suggest an overdose. How can it be? Drugs are for unhappy people, Conrad is sure, not for people who have fallen in love.
Soon, though, it is clear that Sammy had a life hidden even from Conrad, evidenced by the journals he left for Conrad to discover after his death. The journals detail twenty years of research aimed at creating recipes for something called the Elixir of Life. Sammy has left Conrad a mystery and a scientific puzzle, but also, it seems, the chance to cure his father’s terminal illness. Conrad must race against time and other interested parties to uncover the missing piece of the recipe. What will he do to discover the formula?
Spanning centuries of scientific and alchemical inquiry, ranging from New York to Romania to Easter Island, featuring drug kingpins, Big Pharma flunkies, centenarians, and a group of ambitious coin collectors, Jake Wolff’s The History of Living Forever is equal parts thrilling adventure and meditation on mortality, thoughtful investigation of mental illness, and a reminder to be on the lookout for magic in science and life.