Cleopatra at the Breakfast Table is about storytelling in the digital age. It's a jaunty account of a single father, 55, and his daughter, 15, studying Grade 10 Latin together. The book explores the bustling life of teenaged girls, the expanding influence of technology, the peculiar logic of contemporary family life, and how fathers and daughters communicate, or fail to communicate, in the era of Facebook.Father and daughter talk about teenage "death circles," discuss how brothel owners in ancient times advertised their establishments, and come to realize that, while buying a new cell-phone contract, they might not think the same thing when they hear the words "three-year Virgin contract."For the book, the author interviewed Gordon Lightfoot, Dr. Ruth and the former Bishop of Mumbai. Also interviewed are a 12-year-old girl from New York City who studies for her Latin tests by texting with a friend, and a 99-year-old businessman who dined with George Orwell and still uses Latin every day.
Peter O’Brien was born in New York, grew up in Vancouver, and has lived in Dublin, Montreal and, since 1989, Toronto. He has edited or written four books, including Build a Better Book Club (Macmillan Canada) and Introduction to Literature: British, American, Canadian (Harper & Row). His books have been reviewed in Books in Canada, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, The Montreal Gazette, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Quill & Quire and The Vancouver Province.He was the founding editor of Rubicon, a literary and art journal, and he has published articles and reviews – on literature, art, architecture and history – in a wide assortment of publications.He is a past or current member of the American Classical League, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Canadian Public Relations Society, Editors’ Association of Canada, The Visual Arts Foundation, International Association of Business Communicators, and P.E.N. He has won various awards, including a Graphis Gold Award.He has one teen-aged daughter. He also has three brothers, six sisters, eight step-brothers and four step-sisters (a grand total of 22), and an almost infinite number of nieces, nephews and cousins. He freely acknowledges the voluminous and conflicting stories – and the survival techniques learned – that tend to flourish in a family that size.