From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30's caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives.
English anthropologist Andrew Banson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control.
Set between two World Wars and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria ($25.00) is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration, and sacrifice from accomplished author Lily King.
Lily King's first novel, The Pleasing Hour won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and was a New York Times Notable Book and an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her second book, The English Teacher, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and the winner of the Maine Fiction Award. Father of the Rain was a New York Times Editors' Choice, a Publishers Weekly Best Novel of the Year, and winner of the 2010 New England Book Award for Fiction. Lily King lives with her family in Maine.
Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistibly funny: a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself entangled with one of the last great figures of the century.
At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches. At night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Williamsburg apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, and struggling to trust her own artistic instinct, Rakoff is tasked with answering Salinger's voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agency's decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger's devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back. Over the course of the year, she finds her own voice by acting as Salinger's, on her own dangerous and liberating terms.
Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman navigating a heady and longed-for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self-awareness, the idea of a life with life itself. Charming and deeply moving, filled with electrifying glimpses of an American literary icon, My Salinger Year ($25.95) is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer. Above all, it is a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives and awaken our true selves.
Joanna Rakoff's novel A Fortunate Age won the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers and the Elle Readers' Prize, and was a New York Times Editors' Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle best seller. She has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and other publications.
For the first time, a historian of science draws evidence from across the world to show how humans and other animals are astonishingly similar when it comes to their feelings and the ways in which they lose their minds.
Charles Darwin developed his evolutionary theories by looking at physical differences in Galapagos finches and fancy pigeons. Alfred Russell Wallace investigated a range of creatures in the Malay Archipelago. Laurel Braitman got her lessons closer to home—by watching her dog. Oliver snapped at flies that only he could see, ate Ziploc bags, towels, and cartons of eggs. He suffered debilitating separation anxiety, was prone to aggression, and may even have attempted suicide. Her experience with Oliver forced Laurel to acknowledge a form of continuity between humans and other animals that, first as a biology major and later as a PhD student at MIT, she’d never been taught in school. Nonhuman animals can lose their minds. And when they do, it often looks a lot like human mental illness.
MIT PhD in the history of science, Laurel Braitman has written for Pop Up Magazine, The New Inquiry, Orion, and a variety of other publications. She is a TED Fellow and an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Laurel lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California, and can be reached at AnimalMadness.com.
Yours for Eternity ($27.95) is an intimate look at the extraordinary love story between Damien Echols and Lorri Davis, who met and married while Echols—author of the New York Times bestseller Life After Death—served nearly eighteen years on death row.
From one of the greatest legal injustices of our time sprang one of the most unlikely—and unforgettable—love stories. For anyone who followed the case of the “West Memphis Three,” or read Damien Echols’s memoir, Life After Death, there is one lingering question: Who was the woman—courageous, affected, or just plain crazy enough—to fall in love and marry him while he was on death row? Lorri Davis was a landscape architect living in New York City when she saw Paradise Lost, a documentary about the three young men imprisoned in Arkansas for an unspeakable crime they didn’t commit. When her first letter arrived in Echols’s cell in 1996, hers were some of the first kind words of support he had heard.
Over the course of a remarkable sixteen-year correspondence, Echols and Davis grew to know each other, fall in love, and marry—all without ever being able to touch each other freely or be alone together. In Yours for Eternity, they describe also how they overcame the enormous challenges and heartbreaks throughout the years—personal setbacks, legal complications, and much more. Astoundingly, thousands of their personal letters have survived, to create a singular portrait of their marriage told in alternating voices by Echols and Davis both. Yours for Eternity reveals a relationship unfolding in the most exceptional of circumstances. Powerful, unique, and incredibly intimate, it is a modern-day love story for the ages.
Damien Echols and Lorri Davis met in 1996, and were married in a Buddhist ceremony at Tucker Maximum Security Unit in Tucker, Arkansas, in 1999. Echols spent nearly eighteen years on death row until his release in 2011. He is the author of the New York Times–bestselling memoir Life After Death (2012). For more than a decade, Lorri Davis spearheaded a full-time effort toward her husband’s release from prison, which encompassed all aspects of the legal case and forensic investigation and, with Echols, served as producer of the documentary West of Memphis. Echols and Davis live in Massachusetts.
A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.
Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she'll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.
When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It's also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel's core.
Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.
Cristina Henríquez is the author of the story collection Come Together, Fall Apart, which was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection, and the novel The World in Half. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Scholar, Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, and Oxford American, as well as in various anthologies.
Four Thursdays: June 26-July 24 (no class July 3) • 9:00-11:00 am • $160
Wendy Walsh has a Ph.D. in Italian Literature from UCB. She has been teaching Italian language, literature, and cooking since 1979. Join Wendy after class in the café for informal Italian conversation.