Author Talk: Suzanne Gilbert, Author of Tapioca Fire
The heart of this presentation will focus on how the heroine's quest leads her to the search and reunion subculture. It is populated with sleuths, activists and ‘search angel’ genealogists. Many of these fictional characters are based on real events and people in Morris County and the greater NYC metropolitan area.
The novel Tapioca Fire opens when Susan tries to solve the mystery of a missing parent only to uncover a greater crime. Susan was adopted years ago in Thailand. A once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity brings her to Japan for the opening of a new museum. It also gives her the excuse to hop another flight to visit the world of the woman forced to give her away years ago.
But it is as much the story of her adoptive parents who were part of the pioneering generation that adopted internationally. They visit Thailand, a country of precious gems and orphans, convulsed by the struggles for democracy. They join the first generation to have their adult children return overseas to find a birth family. Beautiful, dangerous, haunting, this quest crosses decades and continents to find love or answers–a journey worth taking.
Praise for Tapioca Fire:
“A terrific new book by Suzanne Gilbert. Tapioca Fire is moving and fascinating….It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had difficulty putting it down. Suzanne Gilbert has a wonderful style of writing and I highly recommend her new book.”
“A great read! This was a fascinating story of international adoption and intrigue. Once I started the book, I had to finish it in almost one read! The world of international adoption is almost like an alternate universe...secret...[sometimes] full of lies and deception and shame...and joy and reunion. Tapioca Fire sheds light on this hidden part of our world….Keep writing Suzanne!”
"We all search for love and acceptance; for adoptees that battle is fraught with so much more. Suzanne Gilbert brings that struggle to life in a saga of a search and discovery that crosses continents and generations."
“Tapioca Fire is a rich journey through the landscape of connection and loss. We hear the story from all sides as Susan attends a support group that includes other adopted searchers as well as adoptive parents and birth mothers…. Her depiction of urban and rural Thailand is also solidly grounded….It is clear that you can trust her accuracy as she writes with understanding about human trafficking and other contemporary forms of slavery… I recommend this book to anyone who is involved with adoption, including professionals who work in this field. The many possible outcomes of searches like Susan's, with both uplifting and distressing aspects, and the complexity of people's intertwined lives, make this book worth your while.”
“She endeared me immediately by paying tribute to her adoptive family and the many memories they have given her. That also rings true with me. Regardless of all the family that I have found and will continue to find since my search came together, I will always be indebted to the family that raised me, the love, the memories, and the constant support they have always given me, even when it came to finding my roots. You have a great work of art here.”
Suzanne Gilbert’s pen name, is also her "birth name", which was also her name in foster care. She has met her birth mother, who lives in Europe, only a few times, while she met her birth father exactly once before he died. It was through reunion with them that she finally learned her ethnicity. The protagonist of Tapioca Fire, Susan Piper, was adopted from Thailand. This is a country whose multifaceted role in human trafficking Suzanne witnessed when she was married to a Thai journalist. She has also worked in journalism in Tokyo, Boston and New York.
Refreshments will be served.
This program is supported by the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.