Book Talk to meet at Donald W. Reynolds Library


Phyllis Rustin


Monkey Bridge, a beautifully written novel about bridging the world between East and West, is Book Talk’s choice for its November 9 discussion at Donald W. Reynolds Library, 1515 W. Main St. in Durant.

Retired educator Phyllis Rustin will lead the 7:00 p.m. discussion.

The title of Monkey Bridge, by Lan Cao, refers to the fragile bamboo bridges built over rivers in Viet Nam and to the fragility of relationships that exist between people and countries.

When young Mai Nguyen, the book’s narrator, leaves war-torn Saigon in 1975 and ends up in Connecticut, she must not only navigate a new land and an unfamiliar culture, but she must become a “parent” to her widowed mother, who adapts less well to the changes.

The novel interweaves the two women’s stories. Though both feel strong connections to home and loved ones, Mai looks forward with hope while her mother is haunted by her losses.

Rustin taught for 23 years at Durant High School until retiring in 2012, teaching courses in English (including honors and pre-advanced placement classes), journalism and creative writing, and speech, as well as eighth-grade language arts.

Prior to teaching in Durant, she taught at Hugo and Antlers.

She holds the Master of Education degree in guidance and counseling from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in speech communication and minors in English and Education, earned at Southern Nazarene University and SOSU.

Book Talk meetings are open to the public. The group reads and discusses a variety of fiction and non-fiction. Copies of its monthly selections are available for purchase at the library service desk.

The discussion group does not meet in December and the summer months. Its next meeting will be January 11, with Dr. Alexa Smith-Osborne leading a discussion of “Defend and Betray” by Anne Perry.

Phyllis Rustin Rustin


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