Emma Copley Eisenberg, "The Third Rainbow Girl," in conversation with Ginger Strand

Event date: 
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Oblong Rhinebeck
6422 Montgomery Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

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Emma Copley Eisenberg will talk with fellow non-fiction author Ginger Strand about her stunningly written investigation of the murder of two young women, a violent crime that cast a shadow over an entire community.

Emma Copley EisenbergThe Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley EisenbergGinger Strand

Authors L to R: Emma Copley Eisenberg, Ginger Strand (by Orianna Riley)

In the early evening of June 25, 1980 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas--turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries.

Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America--its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.

Ginger Strand is an American author of nonfiction and fiction. Her 2005 debut novel Flight was adapted from several of her short stories. Her published books of non-fiction include Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, and Lies in May 2008, Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate in 2012, and The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic in 2015. She has published articles in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, Tin House, and The Believer, among others. She was a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in nonfiction.

Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck is a fully wheelchair accessible space with on-site van accessible parking. Microphones and speakers will not be used at this event but can be made available with advance notice. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us: info@oblongbooks.com.

The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374536534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 22nd, 2016