Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

NOVELIST GETS UNDER THE MARITAL HOOD

galant2

Journalist, novelist and proud blogger Debra Galant parks it at NovelTeas on Bridge Avenue this Saturday for an event keyed to her new book CARS FROM A MARRIAGE. (Photo by Frances Pelzman Liscio)

By TOM CHESEK

When the 2010 Liberty Hose Red Bank Firefighter 8th Annual Car Show takes over downtown Red Bank’s White Street parking lot this Sunday, classic car-noisseurs know just what to expect — from the bodacious Dagmars of a Chevy Bel Air and the perky nacelles of a Mercury Turnpike Cruiser to the more equine musculature of 60s ponycar projects like your Mustangs, Camaros and ‘Cudas.

A day earlier and a few blocks west at NovelTeas Authors Aromas & Gifts, all eyes will be on a Galant — not the long-running bestseller of the Mitsubishi product line, but Debbie Galant, a woman who’s been as much a part of the suburban landscape as the sensibly sporty sedan with whom she shares a name.

The self-described author, mogul, mother, wife — a transplant from Virginia to north Jersey’s verdant green — is parking it at Kim Widener‘s book salon/ tea room/ gift boutique for something of a literary “car show,” an event that’s keyed to the recent publication of Cars from a Marriage, an “auto-biography” that “explores marriage through the lens of the various cars that the couple owns during their 20 years together.”

It’s the third novel (Rattled and Fear and Yoga in New Jersey are the others) for the former New York Times columnist; a regular contributor to national magazines who’s best known around the ‘green as the founder and editor of Montclair-based Baristanet — an acclaimed and award-winning news website that’s been an inspiration to many a placeblogging hyperlocal, including, ahem, redbankgreen.

And now, the light goes green on seven questions for Debra Galant…

dgalant2

You do realize that you have the same name as a popular motor vehicle, right?

Yes, but I am absolutely not a car person myself. Cars for me have always been a point A-to-point-B delivery system, although we all have our opinions about them. I’m surprised that I could even come up with the name of the car I drive.

And that is?

Well, it’s a little embarrassing, but my main car is a Plymouth Voyager Minivan — something that made more sense several years ago. I’m actually embarrassed with the big dent it’s got; we asked one of those gypsy repair guys that operate out of parking lots to work on it, and he made it a hundred times worse. My parents are going to be giving me their car, which is an Audi, and I’m looking forward to it.

Car person or no, you seem to have tapped into something here that resonates for people in New Jersey, which is probably second only to California as a drive-centric place.

The last two chapters of Cars from a Marriage actually take place out in California! I got a lot of background for the big climax on a trip through Big Sur. It’s one of the more amazing trips you can take by car; especially southbound, where you feel like you’re at the edge of the world.

So the novel isn’t confined to New Jersey?

I think of the book as more of a story cycle than a novel. It takes place between 1981 and 2001; it skips ahead and it changes point of view — every other chapter is narrated by the wife or the husband. And the cars themselves are secondary. It’s just that every chapter has something to do with driving.

As it relates to some incident or milestone in their marriage?

There’s a psychological thing at the heart of it — marriage is about two people, and “auto” means self, the one, the individual. It takes just one person to steer a car, but when you’re in a marriage, it’s like having a backseat driver through life.

I’ve seen the word “auto-biography” used to promote the book, but it’s not necessarily drawn from your own marriage, is it?

It’s a work of fiction, but the inspiration for the characters should be obvious to any of our friends. The wife in the book is named Ivy, and she’s terrified of driving at first — whereas her husband likes to speed. Which is similar to how my husband used to be, ten years ago.

One more before we go. What would be the perfect ride for you, to fit your current lifestyle?

I did a Q&A with Cars.com, and I told them that my perfect car would be ‘Mini Cooper on the outside, Minivan on the inside!’

Debra Galant visits NovelTeas on July 10 from 2p, with $5 admission including the author presentation and “light BBQ” refreshments (books and beverages will be sold separately). Take it here for tickets.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
POPE OKS ORATORY
RED BANK: St. Anthony of Padua obtains papal approval to establish Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a community of priests and brothers devoted t ...
RED BANK: NEW MURAL BRIGHTENS CORNER
RED BANK: Lunch Break founder Norma Todd is depicted in a mural painted this week on the front of the newly renovated social service agency.
TULIPS TOGETHER
Spring tulips taking in the sunset outside the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank Monday evening.
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...
RAIL RIDER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of Cooper's Bridge and the Navesink River from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank Tuesday morning.
PUT ME IN COACH!
Red Bank T-Ball kicked off at East Side park on Saturday morning. The brisk weather proved to be no deterrent to the young players, ranging ...
IT’S A SIGN!
Once proudly declaring its all-but-certain arrival in Spring 2019, the project previously known as Azalea Gardens springs to life again with ...
SPRINGTIME MEMORIES OF CARL
The Easter Bunny getup and St. Patrick’s Day hat that belonged to longtime Red Bank crossing guard and neighborhood smile-creator Carl ...
RED TRUCKS AT RED ROCK
A small dishwasher fire at Red Rock Tap and Grill was put out quickly by firefighters overnight, causing minimal damage. Red Bank Fire Depar ...
CREATIVE COVER UP
The windows of Pearl Street Consignment on Monmouth Street were smashed when a driver crashed their car through them injuring an employee la ...
THEY’RE BACK!
Ospreys returned to the skies over Red Bank this week for the first time since they migrated to warmer climes in late fall. With temperature ...
SPRING IS SPRUNG
RED BANK: Spring 2024 arrives on the Greater Red Bank Green with the vernal equinox at 11:06 p.m. Tuesday.
RED BANK’S FINEST – AND NEWEST
Red Bank Police Officer Eliot Ramos was sworn in as the force’s newest patrolman Thursday, and if you’re doing a double take thinkin ...
EASTER EGG MAYHEM AT THE PARK
An errant whistle spurred an unexpectedly early start to the Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, which had been scheduled to begin at eggsactly 11am ...
PRESEASON DOCKWORK
RED BANK: With winter winding down, marina gets ready for boating season with some dockwork on our beautiful Navesink River.
CORNED BEEF AND DISCO FRIES?
It’s Friday, and smart Lent-observing Leprechauns know the pot of gold at the end of Red Bank’s rainbow is actually the deliciou ...
SURFBOARD DITCHED
It’s a violation of etiquette in surfing to ditch your board.  (it could hit another surfer and hurt them). But someone appears to ha ...