Ann Arbor author Paul Dimond presents The Belle of Two Arbors

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 7:00pm

About the Author

PAUL DIMOND grew up in Ann Arbor with one foot between Town and Gown and the other in Glen Arbor exploring northern Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes. At Amherst College he majored in history researching original sources. He returned to Michigan Law School where he began his study of the Civil War Amendments.

In the 1970s Paul helped try several cases to secure the right to education for all kids no matter how disabled and four landmark race cases that challenged a divided Supreme Court. In the 1980s he continued to study the Fourteenth Amendment, the proper role of judicial review and the dynamics of metropolitan areas. All culminated in his service as Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy in the 1990s. Safely back in his two Arbors, he chaired a national real estate firm, practiced law and now serves as a trustee or advisor for many organizations to help Michigan reclaim its destiny as the heart of the Great Lakes and a thriving home for fresh water and fresh ideas.

Paul is the author of numerous articles and three books on policy, law and history, including Beyond Busing, winner of the Ralph J. Bunche Book of the Year Award (1986), with a new afterword for a 20th anniversary reprinting in paperback. Dissatisfied with any of the endings, he turned to fiction. His first novel, North Coast Almanac for “tweeners” was published in 2012. Upcoming works include a political thriller, Succession at the White House, and a journey love story, Widower’s Song.

After nearly a decade of research and drafting, his historical novel, The Belle of Two Arbors, 1913-1953, was published in March 2017 for all to read.

The Belle of Two Arbors Cover Image
ISBN: 9781943290215
Availability: On Our Shelves Now-Click on title for location specific availability.
Published: Cedar Forge Press - April 4th, 2017

Meet Ann Arbor author and accomplished lawyer Paul Dimond -- former Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy – as he presents his heavily researched, Michigan-set historical fiction novel The Belle of Two Arbors. Featuring poetry Martha Buhr Grimes, the novel tells the story of Belle, born at the turn of the twentieth century in Glen Arbor, near the dunes of Northern Michigan, an aspiring poet weaned on the verse of Emily Dickenson. At 21, Belle ventures south to Ann Arbor for university where she befriends Robert Frost, Ted Roethke, and Wystan Auden, and finds that her poetry stands alongside theirs. Belle's narrative brings these two places to life in their historic context: a growing Midwestern town driven by a public university, striving for greatness; and a rural peninsula seeking prosperity while preserving its natural heritage. Through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Post-War Boom, Belle's story is hard to put down. Her voice and songs will be even harder to forget.

Praise for The Belle of Two Arbors

The Belle of Two Arbors is a beguiling story about a talented woman from the back of beyond who dares to establish her own identity. Capturing the upper reaches of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Dimond creates a new American fable that, like the great novels of Willa Cather, both lacerates and heals: An ingenious feat of fictional biography. --Theodore Rosengarten, National Book Award Winner

Dimond imagines the intertwined lives of literary giants in a saga as evocative as Faulkner, with plot lines as cracking as Hemingway s short stories in Michigan s northern woods. Belle s bravery and artistic consciousness are an inspiration. --John Dempsey, Chair of the Michigan Historical Commission and co-author of Michigan Notable Book Award-winner Ink Trails: Michigan s Famous and Forgotten Authors

In the company of Paul Dimond's extraordinary Belle, we witness the turbulence of a rapidly changing America in the first half of the 20th century. In her roles as poet, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and conservation leader, Belle interacts with a well-realized cast of characters, both imagined and real, most notably the poet Robert Frost. In this full and searching 'portrait of a lady,' Dimond renders the opportunities and obstacles that shape Belle's story in such a way as to remind us that her world is also ours in the making. --Donald Sheehy, Editor of The Letters of Robert Frost. Vols. 1-2

About The Belle of Two Arbors

Born at the turn of the twentieth century in Glen Arbor, near the dunes of Northern Michigan, young Belle is the first child of a gruff stove-works boss and a crippled mother who weaned Belle on the verse of Emily Dickenson. When a natural disaster results in her mother's death and nearly takes the life of her younger brother Pip, Belle creates a fierce, almost ecstatic farewell song. Thus begins her journey to compose a perfect Goodbye to Mama.

At 21, Belle ventures south to Ann Arbor for university, with teenaged Pip in tow. There, she befriends Robert Frost, Ted Roethke and Wystan Auden and finds that her poetry stands alongside theirs, and even with that of her hero, Dickinson. Her lyrics capture the sounds, sights, and rhythms of the changing seasons in the northern forests, amidst the rolling dunes by the shores of the Great Lake.

Despite the peace she finds, Belle also struggles in both homes. Up north, she battles her father who thinks a woman can't run the family business; and clashes against developers who would scar the natural landscape. In Ann Arbor, she challenges the status quo of academic pedants and chauvinists.