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Author of the novel “loverboy,”
adapted as a 2005 film directed by Kevin Bacon

NYS Writers Institute, November 27, 2007
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Science Library 340
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center



Victoria Redel, author of “Loverboy” (2001), a novel of motherly love gone bad that was adapted as a 2005 film directed by Kevin Bacon, starring Kyra Sedgwick and Matt Dillon, will discuss “The Border of Truth” (2007), about the daughter of a Holocaust refugee who discovers the buried secrets of her father’s past, on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. in Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in Science Library 340 on the uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Judaic Studies Department, and are free and open to the public.


Victoria Redel is an acclaimed poet, short story writer, and novelist. Her first novel “Loverboy” (2001), about a mother’s obsessive—and, ultimately, twisted and dangerous— love for her child, became a 2005 movie directed by Kevin Bacon and starring Kyra Sedgwick, and Matt Dillon. In reviewing the book “Library Journal” said, “Redel... writes like an angel about the darkest edge of obsession. This debut is simply excellent.” The “Los Angeles Times Book Review” said, “Redel is one of the most talented scary writers to come out of musty old Manhattan in the last few decades. She’s a writer with her fists clenched so tightly that her palms must bleed, and when she opens her fist, suddenly, in front of the reader, powerful, hurtful truths come flying out.”

Redel’s most recent book is “The Border of Truth” (2007), which follows the daughter of a Holocaust refugee as she uncovers the strange and unexpected secrets of her father’s history. The narrative alternates between the perspectives of Itzak Lejdel and his daughter Sarah Leader.

After Itzak’s visa is rejected by American authorities, he sits trapped on a ship in a Virginia port in the 1940s, waiting to be sent back to Nazi-occupied Europe. Fifty years later, Sarah, a single, childless professor with a weakness for married lovers, is compelled by an adoption agency to supply a family history, and becomes determined to discover the story of her father’s past, about which she knows little. The “Publishers Weekly” reviewer said, “Redel offers a welcome and fresh perspective on the well-trod subject of the Holocaust.” The “Los Angeles Times” said, “‘The Border of Truth’ is such a good novel that it could also be any American’s story.”

In writing the book, Redel took inspiration from the story of her own father, Irving Redel, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe aboard a Portuguese cargo ship, the Quanza, whose passengers—most of them Jews seeking political asylum— were denied entry first in Mexico, then in Virginia. At last, Eleanor Roosevelt personally intervened, and the U.S. State Department granted them visas.

Redel’s collections of poetry, “Swoon” (2004) and “Already the World” (1995) were noted by critics for their ferocity, carnality and passion. The “New York Times” said of “Swoon,” “While some books can be read in a single sitting, this isn’t one of them. Redel’s characters don’t walk the line between appetite and everything else so much as they dash back and forth across it, warming the pages so that readers who take up ‘Swoon’ are likely to drop it from time to time and blow on their fingers as though they’ve grabbed a hot skillet.”

Redel’s appearance is cosponsored by the UAlbany Judaic Studies Department.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.