Solovetsky occupies the island site of a former monastery in the White Sea. Here, hundreds of miles from civilization, and with a skeleton crew of secret-policemen in charge, some prisoners are consigned to all kinds of forced labor and others sit at comfortable desks in administrative or cultural positions. With the brutal winter fast approaching, Tolya Bogomolov, a young mathematician serving a three-year sentence, hopes an acquaintance he’s been cultivating will lead to a less brutal work assignment, maybe even a little more bread in his ration. Knowing Gennady Antonov holds a privileged position restoring the monks’ seized collection of icons ought to improve Tolya’s odds of reassignment. But when Antonov’s body is discovered floating frozen in the bay, their connection turns dangerous. At first the authorities question Tolya, but then he’s mystified when they assign him to assist the elderly detective investigating the case—but better to find the real killer than have the murder pinned on him. Digging into Antonov’s secrets turns up strange expropriations of the museum’s icons, rumors of an escape conspiracy among White Army officers, and an illicit affair with a female prisoner who won’t tell all she knows. To avoid becoming the murderer’s next victim, Tolya must defy Solovetsky’s unforgiving regime and make ruthless use of his fellow prisoners. Putting his story to paper at last means reckoning the true cost of his survival.
January 14, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
January 30, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
In Friendship, science journalist Lydia Denworth takes us in search of friendship’s biological, psychological, and evolutionary foundations. She finds friendship to be as old as early life on the African savannas—when tribes of people grew large enough for individuals to seek fulfillment of their social needs outside their immediate families. Denworth sees this urge to connect reflected in primates, too, taking us to a monkey sanctuary in Puerto Rico and a baboon colony in Kenya to examine social bonds that offer insight into our own. She meets scientists at the frontiers of brain and genetics research and discovers that friendship is reflected in our brain waves, our genomes, and our cardiovascular and immune systems; its opposite, loneliness, can kill. At long last, social connection is recognized as critical to wellness and longevity.With insight and warmth, Denworth weaves past and present, field biology and neuroscience, to show how our bodies and minds are designed for friendship across life stages, the processes by which healthy social bonds are developed and maintained, and how friendship is changing in the age of social media. Blending compelling science, storytelling, and a grand evolutionary perspective, Denworth delineates the essential role that cooperation and companionship play in creating human (and nonhuman) societies.
Lydia Denworth will be in conversation with Randi Hutter Epstein, author Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything.
February 4, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
In the title novella, a married woman reads Wuthering Heights at the same time that she falls under the erotic and destructive spell of her own Heathcliff. In the stories that follow, a single photograph illuminates the intricate web of connections between friends at an Italian café; a forgotten act of violence in New York’s Carl Schurz Park returns to haunt the present; and a woman is prompted by a flurry of mysterious emails to recall her time as a member of the infamous Rajneesh cult.
Sharp and unflinching, the novella and stories together form an exquisitely crafted collection from one of our most treasured, award-winning writers.
Lily Tuck will be in conversation with author and critic, Molly Haskell
February 10, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales. So begins a tale almost too bizarre to believe, following the parallel lives of a globetrotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors for royals in the United Arab Emirates—where falcon races have multimillion-dollar purses and a champion bird might just be worth risking prison for—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s determined to protect the world’s birds of prey from one of the most irrepressible predators of our time. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.
February 25, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
She was a longtime lover of JFK.
She was the ex-wife of a CIA chief.
She was the sister-in-law of the Washington Post’s Ben Bradlee.
She believed in mind expansion and took LSD with Timothy Leary.
She was a painter, a socialite and a Bohemian in Georgetown during the Cold War.
And she ended up dead in an unsolved murder a year after JFK’s assassination.
The diary she kept was never found.
Until now. . . .