Since Barry Barnett Keith has done the majority of his writing at Misha’s, it’s only natural that he should hold a book signing there. As he has done with his last two books, he will hold a book signing next month at Misha’s for his latest book, “The Apocalypse.”
“We didn’t even hesitate to say yes to his book signing,” said Andrea Orlandella, co-owner of Misha’s. “Everybody loves Barry. His first book is awesome.”
Keith is a native of Alexandria and currently resides in Accokeek, Md., with his wife, Sharon, and his 4-year-old son, Cameron. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1983. He published both “The Waiter” and “The Cycle” in 2002. A waiter by trade, he has worked at Bilbo Baggins, Portner’s Restaurant and The Caucus Room. He will soon be working at The Blue Point Grill. Keith does his writing while he is not working; often while sitting at a table in Misha’s.
As a sequel to “The Waiter” (2000), “The Apocalypse” explores a time 20 years later in the life of Barnett Gary, when millions of blacks have perished from gun violence and AIDS. The remaining numbers have been left to live on reservations scattered around the Washington, D.C., area.
WHEN TERRORIST ACTS OCCUR, the restaurant business that Gary has known and worked in his whole life is ruined because of lack of business. With his self-respect destroyed by the lack of ability to provide for his wife and son, Gary turns to Sylvia, a girl half his age, who makes him feel wanted. Gary and Sylvia begin an affair that brings about devastating consequences for both of them.
Keith said that he got the idea for the book after Sept. 11. As a waiter, he saw firsthand the effect of 9-11 on the hospitality industry.
“After the terrorist attacks, the restaurant business was reduced to nothing because people were afraid to come out,” said Keith, who took the character from his first book and brought him into the current time. Keith said that his character resembles Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman.”
“He [Barnett Gary] has a lot of time to think while business is slow,” Keith said. “He loses his ability to care for his family, his marriage becomes strained, and he goes to a younger woman,” Keith explained. “This is a book by a man who seizes the essence of ‘Who am I’ and ‘What am I going to do about it?’ He has good intentions, but he’s forced to look at his value system.”
Keith is pleased with the way this book has turned out, and he said, “‘The Waiter’ was good; ‘The Cycle’ was better; but this one is really good. It has a lot of surprises.
“The reader will see a piece of himself in this one.”
<ro>Where & When:
<1st>Book signing for Barry Keith’s books will be held at Misha’s, 102 S. Patrick St., Alexandria, on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 6-8 p.m. For more information, call 703-548-4089.