Author Janice Zalewski of Adena will discuss and sign copies of her recently released book "The Unraveling...of The Rug Merchants" during a 6 p.m. presentation set for Thursday at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.
She also has a collection of Persian rugs and will bring one for discussion, according to Jennifer Cesta, the library system's public relations coordinator.
The book "recounts the undoing of 44-year-old Polish Catholic Christen Janiszeski, the owner of the Galleria Perisan Arts, by hiring Jamshid Khafezi, an exiled Sufi mystic and Moslem rug merchant as her manager," according to promotional material.
Janice Zalewski of Adena
It is set in the New Orleans French Quarter, Pakistan, Iran and the rural coal mining Ohio Valley as Zalewski incorporates a Steubenville scene and Adena scene, for example, into the framework of the story.
"Booklovers take a metaphorical magic carpet ride around the Islamic World where they are privy to honest bohemian introspective chit chat from paradoxical cultural perspectives, meet exotic characters when they are taken into native homes and bustling bazaars where they listen in on indigenous conversations and intuit the consequence of forbidden love and sexual intrigue."
The Moslem-American love story "recreates the universal dilemma of doing what feels good versus doing what feels right in the captivating landscape of paradoxical cultures, profound spiritual pursuits and forbidden love." It "reveals the dysfunctional relationship between two people of juxtaposing cultures - American Polish Catholicism and tribal Islam" and "'unravels' as they deal with their insecurities, idiosyncrasies and tragic pasts."
The 12th of 13 children born in 1942 at North Wheeling Hospital to Polish Catholic coal mining parents, Zalewski owned and operated several Persian carpet wholesale, retail and designer businesses and has conducted exhibitions, lectures and seminars throughout the United States.
She is a rug scholar and an authority who has learned the idiosyncrasies of conducting business in many countries and cultures, according to promotional material.
"Having lived, worked and traveled through the Middle East off and on for the past 30 years, I have come to know and respect the Muslim people and their culture," she writes. "My galleries and I have been featured in magazines and newspapers such as 'Town and Country,' New Orleans 'Times Picayune' and the PBS television series 'Art Underfoot.'"
Zalewski said she has written other novels based on her experiences, including "Milk Sisters," which depicts pilgrimages taken to Mosques throughout Iran and "reveals the fun-loving soulful hearts of my Persian women friends."
She also has presented her Walking on Heirs seminars on Persian and Oriental rugs at Artworks Around Town, Oglebay's Mansion Museum and North Carolina State University. She also is featured in the PBS series, "Art Underfoot" in the segment entitled "Wholesalers: Integrity and Savvy, The Art of Doing Business."
A 1964 graduate of the College of Steubenville, Zalewski returned to the area after having lived overseas to care for her elderly mother. After her mother's death, Zalewski, who taught at Wells School for three years, taught high school at St. John's and Bishop Donahue.
In promotional material, Zalewski said that especially after 9/11, she felt she had a story to tell "after living in the Middle East for five years and traveling throughout for another 25 years on business. Even though I don't agree with all of their cultural perspectives, especially regarding women, there is something innate about the Middle Easterners that I truly respect and love. If a genie would jump out of a magic lamp and grant me one wish only...it would be that people in general would win life's lottery like I have - that everyday ordinary folk everywhere would be given the opportunities to experience the world's cultures and religions in the one-on-one-people-to-people way that I have been so fortunate to have had."
For information on the book, log on to www.Xlibris.com.