Costanza Ansaldo, a half-Italian and half-American translator, is convinced that she has made peace with her childlessness. A year after the death of her husband, an eminent writer, she returns to the pensione in Florence where she spent many happy times in her youth, and there she meets, first, Andrew Weissman, an acutely sensitive seventeen-year-old, and, soon afterward, his father, Henry Weissman, a charismatic New York physician who specializes in—as it happens—reproductive medicine.With three lives each marked by heartbreak and absence—of a child, a parent, a partner, or a clear sense of identity—What is Missing offers Costanza, Andrew, and Henry the opportunity to make themselves whole when the triangle resumes three months later in New York, where the relationships among them turn and tighten with combustive effects that cut to the core of what it means to be a father, a son, and—for Costanza—a potential mother.
October 16, 2019 @ 6:30 pm
November 7, 2019 @ 6:00 pm
“Maya C. Popa’s poems move with a confident, quick-as-dread sweep toward an alarmingly clear articulation of what it is to be an American ‘under/ duress by a language, its failure to imagine the present world or next…’ Her lyrics address our huge unknowns, when ‘The government is cancelled/ but not the body,’ tides of unsorted information threaten to sink us, and in the poisoned sea ‘the shame is that the parrotfish/cannot be remade from scratch.’ American Faith marries a richly detailed music to this careening hour.” —Mark Doty, author of Deep Lane
Maya Catherine Popa is a Romanian-American poet and author of two chapbooks, The Bees Have Been Cancelled and You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave, published in 2018 (DIAGRAM chapbook series). She is the recipient of awards from the Poetry Foundation and the Hippocrates Society, and her writing has appeared in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Poetry London, and Tin House among others. She is the Poetry Reviews Editor at Publishers Weekly, and she directs the Creative Writing Program and teaches English literature at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City.
January 14 @ 6:00 pm
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 30 @ 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 @ 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 @ 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 11 @ 6:00 pm
A naive and idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in the mid-nineties. Even if its sensibilities were manifestly mid-century—the martinis, powerful male egos, and unquestioned authority of kings—GQ still seemed the red-hot center of the literary world. It was there that Miller began learning how to survive in a man’s world. Three years later, she forged her own path, becoming the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire, home to the male writers who had defined manhood itself— Hemingway, Mailer, and Carver. Up against this old world, she would soon discover that it wanted nothing to do with a “mere girl.”
But this was also a unique moment in history that saw the rise of a new literary movement, as exemplified by McSweeney’s and the work of David Foster Wallace. A decade older than Miller, the mercurial Wallace would become the defining voice of a generation and the fiction writer she would work with most. He was her closest friend, confidant—and antagonist. Their intellectual and artistic exchange grew into a highly charged professional and personal relationship between the most prominent male writer of the era and a young woman still finding her voice.
This memoir—a rich, dazzling story of power, ambition, and identity—ultimately asks the question “How does a young woman fit into this male culture and at what cost?” With great wit and deep intelligence, Miller presents an inspiring and moving portrayal of a young woman’s education in a land of men.
February 13 @ 6:00 pm
Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.
But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does.
Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?
Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.
February 18 @ 6:00 pm
Perhaps no man on Earth is more controversial, more hated, or more studied than Adolf Hitler. His exploits and every move are well-documented, from the time he first became chancellor and then dictator of Germany to starting World War II to the systematic killing of millions of Jews. But how did he achieve power, and what was the makeup of the mind of a man who would deliberately inflict unimaginable horrors on millions of people?
Meet Friedrich Richard, an amnesiac soldier who, in 1918, encounters Hitler in the mental ward at Pasewalk Hospital. Hitler, then a corporal, diagnosed as a psychopath and helpless, suffering from hysterical blindness, introduces himself as Wolf to Friedrich and becomes dependent upon Friedrich for assistance, forming an unbreakable bond between the two men.
Follow Friedich—our protagonist—who interacts with real people, places, and events, through the fifteen-year friendship that witnesses Hitler turn from a quiet painter into a megalomaniacal dictator. Using brand-new historical research to construct a realistic portrait of the evolving Hitler, Wolf will satisfy, by turns, history buffs and fiction fans alike. And as this complex story is masterfully presented, it answers the question of how a nondescript man became the world’s greatest monster.
February 25 @ 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. . . .