December

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kidsmith

Cassandra Clare

Moderated by authors Michelle Hodkin and Malinda Lo. This event will take place at Coolidge Corner Theatre. TICKETS SOLD HERE.

Cassandra Clare returns to the world of the Shadowhunters in the third book in the Dark Artifices trilogy, The Queen of Air and Darkness.

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined.

DeWitt Henry, David Blair & Marc Vincenz

Sweet Marjoram: Notes & Essays

Friends with Dogs

In his new collection of essays, DeWitt Henry develops a lexicon of 22 abstract terms, including Weather, Time, Handshakes, Privilege, and Empathy, and sifts the layered meanings of each term through research, wit, personal stories, literary quotations, and free association.

David Blair brings us his third book of poetry which the poet Tom Sleigh describes as carrying “an almost Hardyish sense of regret and loss.” He is the author of two previous poetry collections. He teaches at the New England Institute of Art. Another book, Arsonville, is forthcoming.

Marc Vincenz is co-editor of Fulcrum, international editor of Plume, publisher and editor of MadHat Press and Plume Editions. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Becoming the Sound of Bees, and the forthcoming Leaning into the Infinite. His writing appears in The Nation, Ploughshares, The Common, Solstice, Raritan, Notre Dame Review, World Literature Today, Los Angeles Review of Books, New World Writing, among other publications.

Transnational Book Club

Citizen Illegal

Discussing Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez. The Transnational Literature Series focuses on books concerned with migration, displacement, and exile, with particular emphasis on works in translation. Contact our moderator at brad@brooklinebooksmith.com.

In this stunning debut, poet Jose Olivarez explores the stories, contradictions, joys, and sorrows that embody life in the spaces between Mexico and America. He paints vivid portraits of good kids, bad kids, families clinging to hope, life after the steel mills, gentrifying barrios, and everything in between. Drawing on the rich traditions of Latinx and Chicago writers like Sandra Cisneros and Gwendolyn Brooks, Olivarez creates a home out of life in the in-between. Combining wry humor with potent emotional force, Olivarez takes on complex issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and immigration using an everyday language that invites the reader in. Olivarez has a unique voice that makes him a poet to watch.

Ha Jin

The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (Li Po)

With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the life story of Li Bai (701-762), whose poems–shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life–rang throughout the Tang Dynasty. Jin follows Li Bai from his birth on China’s western frontier through his travels as a young man seeking a place among the empire’s civil servants, his wanderings allowing him to hone his poetic craft, share his verses, and win him friends and admirers along the way. In his later years he is swept up in a military rebellion that alters the course of China, and his death is shrouded in speculation and legend to this day. The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it, and whose ability to live, love, and mourn without reservation produced some of the most enduring verses in the world.

HA JIN left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of eight novels, four story collections, three volumes of poetry, and a book of essays. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor at the creative writing program at Boston University.

Elisa Gabbert & Teju Cole

The Word Pretty

Blind Spot

Join us for the launch of Elisa Gabbert’s latest book, The Word Pretty. Elisa will be reading with Teju Cole.

Elisa Gabbert is a poet and essayist and the author of four collections: The Word Pretty (Black Ocean, 2018), L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems (Black Ocean, 2016), The Self Unstable (Black Ocean, 2013), and The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010). The Self Unstable was chosen by the New Yorker as one of the best books of 2013. Elisa’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian Long Read, Boston Review, the Paris Review Daily, Pacific Standard, Guernica, The Awl, Electric Literature, the Harvard Review, Threepenny Review, Real Life, Catapult, Jubilat, Diagram, and many other venues. Elisa is currently writing a book about disaster culture and human failure, The Unreality of Memory, forthcoming from FSG Originals. She lives in Denver.

In The Word Pretty, she brings together humor and observational intelligence to create a roving and curious series of lyrical essays on writing, reading, and living. Combining elements of criticism, meditation, and personal essay, this book reveals a poet’s attention turned to subjects from translation to aphorism, from unreliable memory to beauty and the male gaze.

Teju Cole is the photography critic for The New York Times Magazine. His work has been exhibited in India, Iceland, and the United States, and was the subject of a solo exhibition in Italy in 2016. He is the author of the essay collection, Known and Strange Things, as well as the novels Every Day Is for the Thief and Open City, the latter of which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the New York City Book Award, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His photography column at The New York Times Magazinewas a finalist for a 2016 National Magazine Award, and he is the winner of the 2016 Focus Award for excellence in photographic writing.

Lincoln Peirce

Max and the Midknights

Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers–the Midknights–Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits!
Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Big Nate series, Lincoln Peirce.

Max and the Midknights, Lincoln’s first book for Crown Books for Young Readers, originated as an unfinished spoof of sword & sorcery tales. Returning to the idea years later, Lincoln rewrote the story around Max, a ten-year-old apprentice troubadour who dreams of becoming a knight. The result is a high-spirited medieval adventure, supported by hundreds of dynamic illustrations employing the language of comics. Of the lively visual format that has become his trademark, Lincoln says, “I try to write the sort of books I would have loved reading when I was a kid.”

Brookline Booksmith Book Club

The Perfect Nanny

Discussing The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani.

The Brookline Booksmith Book Club meets downstairs at 7:30pm. To contact our moderator, email bookclub@brooklinebooksmith.com.

She has the keys to their apartment. She knows everything. She has embedded herself so deeply in their lives that it now seems impossible to remove her.
When Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their son and daughter. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family’s chic Paris apartment, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, motherhood, and madness—and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.

Joanna Schaffhausen

No Mercy: A Mystery

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.  Ellery is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

JOANNA SCHAFFHAUSEN wields a mean scalpel, skills developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain—how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News TonightGood Morning America, and 2020. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. No Mercy is her second novel.

James Charlesworth & Susan Bernhard

Winter Loon

The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill

The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill

All their lives, the children of George Benjamin Hill have fought to escape the shadow of their father: a dust-bowl orphan, self-made millionaire in bedrock American capitalism (fast food and oil), and destroyer of two families on his way to financial success. Now, they are approaching middle age and ruin. While their father takes his place at the center of a national scandal, these estranged siblings find themselves drawn from four corners of the country for a final confrontation with the parent they never had.

James Charlesworth is a recipient of the Martin Dibner Fellowship from the Maine Community Foundation and an MFA from Emerson College. He is at work on his second book.

Winter Loon

Abandoned by his father after his mother drowns in a frozen Minnesota lake, fifteen-year-old Wes Ballot is stranded with coldhearted grandparents and holed up in his mother’s old bedroom, surrounded by her remnants and memories. As the wait for his father stretches unforgivably into months, a local girl–whose own mother died a brutal death–captures his heart and imagination, giving Wes fresh air to breathe in the suffocating small town.

Susan Bernhard is a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship recipient and a graduate of the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program.

apt magazine feat. Sam Cha, Krysten Hill, & Kurt Klopmeier

Join us for the launch of apt magazine’s latest issue! Featuring longform stories, poems, essays, and hybrid work by Devon Balwit, Sam Cha, Abby Minor, Matthew Morris, and Buku Sarkar.

Small Press Book Club

Read something off the beaten path! Our Small Press Book Club will meet to discuss a book from an independent publisher. To contact our moderator, email smallpress@brooklinebooksmith.com

An Evening of Poetry with Sally Wen Mao, Jennifer Tseng, Ocean Vuong

Oculus: Poems

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Join us for an evening of poetry with Sally Wen Mao, Jennifer Tseng, and Ocean Vuong to celebrate the release of Sally Wen Mao’s new poetry collection Oculus. Through poetry and fiction, through experimentation with form and genre, the work of these writers complicates our understanding of nationality and place by considering all that goes into their construction - technology and spectacle, translation and language, trauma and war.

Sally Wen Mao is the author of a previous poetry collection, Mad Honey Symposium. Her work has won a Pushcart Prize and fellowships at Kundiman, George Washington University, and the New York Public Library Cullman Center. Her latest collection, Oculus, explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology. At the heart of the collection is the voice of international icon and first Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong, who travels through the history of cinema with a time machine, even past her death and into the future of film, where she finds she has no progeny.

Jennifer Tseng is the author of three award-winning poetry collections; a collection of flash fiction, The Passion of Woo and Isolde, a Firecracker Award finalist and winner of an Eric Hoffer Book Award; and a novel, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness, finalist for the PEN American Center’s Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the New England Book Award. Visiting Writer at OSU-Cascades, Tseng lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

Ocean Vuong was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at Umass-Amherst. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Night Sky With Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous will be published by Penguin Press in 2019.

Dani Shapiro

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years–years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

DANI SHAPIRO is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro’s short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Abby Ellin

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

Abby Ellin was shocked to learn that her fiancé was leading a secret life. But as she soon discovered, double lives are everywhere.

In Duped, Ellin plunges headlong into the world of double lives. Studying the art and science of lying, talking to women who’ve had their worlds upended by men who weren’t who they professed to be, and writing with great openness about her own mistakes, she lays the phenomenon bare. These remarkable–yet surprisingly common–stories reveal just how strange and improbable our everyday lives really are.

Abby Ellin is an award-winning journalist and the author of Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In On Living Large, Losing Weight and How Parents Can (and Can’t) Help. For five years she wrote the “Preludes” column about young people and money for the Sunday Money and Business section of the New York Times. She is also a regular contributor to the Health, Style, Business and Education sections of the New York Times. Her work has been published in The New York Times MagazineNew York, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and many others.

Katherine Arden & Julia Meitov Hersey

The Winter of the Witch

Vita Nostra

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to Katherine Arden’s bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias - the seen, and the unseen.

Translator Julia Meitov Hersey presents the definitive English language translation of the internationally acclaimed Russian novel, Vita Nostra—a brilliant dark fantasy combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way.

Katherine Arden is the author of the national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. Born in Austin, Texas, she has studied Russian in Moscow, taught at a school in the French Alps, and worked on a farm in Hawaii. She currently lives in Vermont.

Tessa Hadley in conversation with James Wood

Late in the Day: A Novel

After three decades of friendship, Zach has died, and Alexandr, Christine, and Zachary are left to grieve in ways that warp and strain their relationships. Late in the Day explores the complex webs at the center of our most intimate relationships, to expose how infinite alternate configurations lie beneath the seemingly dependable arrangements we make for our lives.

Tessa Hadley is the author of five highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All RightThe Master BedroomThe London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book; and Clever Girl. She is also the author of two short story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, which were New York Times Notable Books as well. Her stories appear regularly in The New Yorker. She lives in London.

Joseph Finder

Judgment: A Novel

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and has an unforgettable night with him—something she’d never done before. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, Juliana realizes that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down. 

Joseph Finder is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen previous novels, including The SwitchGuilty MindsThe FixerSuspicionVanished, and Buried Secrets. Finder’s international bestseller Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers’s Thriller Award for Best Novel of 2006. Other bestselling titles include Paranoia and High Crimes, which both became major motion pictures. He lives in Boston.

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is hitting the road in support of her next adventure in the Grishaverse, King of Scars.

Exciting news: we’re partnering with Macmillan to host a Grishaverse fan meet-up an hour before Leigh arrives. We’ll be closing the store to everyone but ticketholders for this meet-up–Grishaverse fans will have the run of the store! The meet-up will include trivia/games, a themed King of Scars photo backdrop (so come in costume!), exclusive fan-meet-up-only moments, and more.

Once Leigh arrives, she’ll host a 30 minute Q&A followed by a book signing where you’re able to get King of Scars personalized and two additional Leigh Bardugo titles signed. You’ll also be able to grab a quick photo with her, so have your cameras ready to go!

All parts of this event will take place at Brookline Booksmith / 279 Harvard St / Brookline, MA 02446.

FAN MEET-UP: 6-7PM
Q&A AND SIGNING: 7PM

ABOUT THE BOOK

Face your demons…or feed them.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Enter the Grishaverse with this new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Karen Dillon & Efosa Ojomo

The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty

Clayton M. Christensen, the author of such business classics as The Innovator’s Dilemma and the New York Times bestseller How Will You Measure Your Life, and co-authors Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon reveal why so many investments in economic development fail to generate sustainable prosperity, and offers a groundbreaking solution for true and lasting change.

Efosa Ojomo works side-by-side with Christensen and the Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, where he leads the organization’s Global Prosperity Practice. His work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Guardian, Quartz, CNBCAfrica, and the Emerging Markets Business Review.

Karen Dillon is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller How Will You Measure Your Life? She is a graduate of Cornell University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In 2011 she was named by Ashoka as one of the world’s most influential and inspiring women.

February

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Steven Pinker

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise - not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers.

Elinor Lipman

Good Riddance

Daphne Maritch doesn’t quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother, who held this relic dear. Too dear. The late June Winter Maritch was the teacher to whom the class of ‘68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and observations after each one—not always charitably—and noting who overstepped boundaries of many kinds.

In a fit of decluttering (the yearbook did not, Daphne concluded, “spark joy”), she discards it when she moves to a small New York City apartment. But when it’s found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook’s mysteries—not to mention her own family’s—take on a whole new urgency, and Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both poignant and absurd. 

ELINOR LIPMAN is the award-winning author of eleven novels, including The View from Penthouse B and The Inn at Lake Devine; one essay collection, I Can’t Complain; and Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus. She lives in New York City.

Narayan Helen Liebenson

The Magnanimous Heart: Compassion and Love, Loss and Grief, Joy and Liberation

In her long-awaited debut, a beloved master teacher shows us how to move from the “constant squeeze” of suffering to a direct experience of enoughness. The magnanimous heart is a heart of balance and buoyancy, of generosity and inclusivity. It allows us to approach each moment exactly as it is - fresh and alive, free from agendas and shoulds, receiving all that arises. It has the capacity to hold anything and everything, transforming even vulnerability and grief into workable assets.

Narayan Helen Liebenson is a guiding teacher at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and has been teaching there since its inception in 1985. Narayan is also a guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where she offers residential retreats. She leads retreats as well in other parts of the country and the world.

Maddie Frost

The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs

Do you love picture books? Join us in our children’s section with special storytime guest Maddie Frost!

In this tender celebration of love, you’ll find the sweetest bug hug, the cutest fox cuddle, and the gentlest elephant embrace you’ve ever seen. Playful poetry and bright illustrations of adorable baby animals will inspire cozy time from morning to night, all the way to bedtime.

Maddie Frost is the author and illustrator of Once Upon a Zzzz. She grew up in Massachusetts and attended the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for animation. Maddie lives outside of Boston, and she invites you to visit her online at Maddie-Frost.com.

Brookline Booksmith Book Club

The Brookline Booksmith Book Club meets downstairs at 7:30pm. To contact our moderator, email bookclub@brooklinebooksmith.com.

Morgan Parker

Magical Negro

Magical Negro is an archive of Black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of Black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics–of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience.

Amit Chaudhuri & Amitava Kumar

Friend of My Youth

Immigrant, Montana

In Friend of My Youth, the narrator, Amit Chaudhuri (a novelist who is not to be confused with Amit Chaudhuri the novelist) is in Bombay, where he lived and went to school as a child and teenager: Hailing as he and his family do from Calcutta, he was never exactly home there although their home was there. That was long ago, however, and Bombay is now a different Bombay, just as his own childhood looks different through the lens of intervening years. And there’s another difference now: The old friend he always visited on returns to Bombay has fallen prey to a drug habit and is no longer there–and so another link with the past is broken. Amit wanders the streets of Bombay, reflects on the terrorist takeover of the glamorous Taj Mahal Hotel, runs errands for his wife and mother, remembers his father, misses his friend.

In Immigrant, Montana, a young Indian man’s American friends call him Kalashnikov, AK-47, AK. He takes it all in his stride: he wants to fit in–and more than that, to shine. In the narrative of his years at a university in New York, AK describes the joys and disappointments of his immigrant experience; the unfamiliar political and social textures of campus life; the indelible influence of a charismatic professor–also an immigrant, his personal history as dramatic as AK’s is decidedly not; the very different natures of the women he loved, and of himself in and out of love with each of them. Telling his own story, AK is both meditative and the embodiment of the enthusiasm of youth in all its idealism and chaotic desires.

This event is part of Brookline Booksmith’s Transnational Series. For more information, contact series moderator Shuchi Saraswat at shuchi@brooklinebooksmith.com.

Small Press Book Club

Read something off the beaten path! Our Small Press Book Club will meet to discuss a book from an independent publisher. To contact our moderator, email smallpress@brooklinebooksmith.com

Dariel Suarez in conversation with Laura van den Berg

A Kind of Solitude

Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1997, during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. He is the author of the novel The Playwright’s House (forthcoming, Red Hen Press) and the story collection A Kind of Solitude (Willow Springs Books), winner of the 2017 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Dariel is an inaugural City of Boston Artist Fellow and the Director of Core Programs and Faculty at GrubStreet, the country’s largest and leading independent creative writing center. He earned his M.F.A. in Fiction at Boston University and now resides in the Boston area with his wife and daughter. Laura van den Berg is the author of two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, and two novels Find Me and The Third Hotel. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, an O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Born and raised in Florida, she lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband and dog.

About the book:

Set in Cuba, largely after the fall of the Soviet Union, the eleven stories in A Kind of Solitude (Willow Springs Books) explore themes of isolation and preservation in the face of widespread poverty and sociopolitical oppression. From a chronically ill santero refusing medical care to a female-fronted heavy-metal band risking it all to emerge from Havana’s underground, Dariel Suarez, in his daring debut, portrays the harsh reality, inherent humor, and resilient heart of a people whose stories should be known.

Leila Slimani

Adèle

Adèle appears to have the perfect life: She is a successful journalist in Paris who lives in a beautiful apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But underneath the surface, she is bored–and consumed by an insatiable need for sex. Driven less by pleasure than compulsion, Adèle organizes her day around her extramarital affairs, arriving late to work and lying to her husband about where she’s been, until she becomes ensnared in a trap of her own making. Suspenseful, erotic, and electrically charged, Adèle is a captivating exploration of addiction, sexuality, and one woman’s quest to feel alive.

Leila Slimani is the bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.

Elizabeth Flock in conversation with Min Jin Lee

The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai

Elizabeth Flock has observed the evolving state of India from inside Mumbai, its largest metropolis. She spent close to a decade getting to know these couples—listening to their stories and living in their homes, where she was privy to countless moments of marital joy, inevitable frustration, dramatic upheaval, and whispered confessions and secrets. The result is a phenomenal feat of reportage that is both an enthralling portrait of a nation in the midst of transition and an unforgettable look at the universal mysteries of love and marriage that connect us all.

Elizabeth Flock is a reporter for PBS NewsHour. She began her career at Forbes India magazine, where she spent two years as a features reporter in Mumbai, and has worked for U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post. She has also written for major outlets, including the New York Times, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Hindustan Times, and The Hindu. She lives in Washington, DC. The Heart Is a Shifting Sea is her first book.

Sándor Jászberényi in conversation with William Pierce

Sándor Jászberényi is a Hungarian writer and Middle East correspondent who has covered the Darfur crisis, the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, the Gaza War, and the Huthi uprising in Yemen, and has interviewed several armed Islamist groups. A photojournalist for the Egypt Independent and Hungarian newspapers, he currently lives in Cairo, Egypt. Born in 1980 in Sopron, Hungary, he studied literature, philosophy, and Arabic at ELTE university in Budapest. His stories have been published in all the major Hungarian literary magazines and in English in the Brooklyn RailPilvax, and BODY Literature. The release of his first collection of short stories, Az ördög egy fekete kutya (The Devil is a Black Dog), in late 2013–both in Hungary (Kalligram) and Italy (Anfora Editore)–was treated with much fanfare in his native land; for it marked the arrival of a distinctive new voice in Hungarian letters, one whose credible focus on timely international themes and settings carries the potential for a broad international readership. William Pierce is the author of Reality Hunger: On Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle (Arrowsmith Press, 2016). His fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, Ecotone, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. He is senior editor of the literary and cultural magazine AGNI.

About the book:

Set mostly in contemporary Cairo and Iraq, as well as Israel, London, and Hungary, these twelve short stories are a staggering follow-up to those in the acclaimed collection The Devil Is a Black Dog by leading Hungarian writer/photojournalist Sándor Jászberényi. Told from the perspective of Cairo-based European war correspondent Daniel Marosh, The Most Beautiful Night of the Soul is, above all, about a journalist examining some of today’s most pressing Middle East conflicts and the lives of others even while forced to question his own assumptions and haunted by his own demons.

Sam Lipsyte

Hark

In an America convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, many folks are searching for peace, salvation, and—perhaps most immediately—just a little damn focus. Enter Hark Morner, an unwitting guru whose technique of “Mental Archery”—a combination of mindfulness, mythology, fake history, yoga, and, well, archery—is set to captivate the masses and raise him to near-messiah status. It’s a role he never asked for, and one he is woefully underprepared to take on. But his inner-circle of modern pilgrims have other plans, as do some suddenly powerful fringe players, including a renegade Ivy League ethicist, a gentle Swedish kidnapper, a crossbow-hunting veteran of jungle drug wars, a social media tycoon with an empire on the skids, and a mysteriously influential (but undeniably slimy) catfish.

Sam Lipsyte is the author of the story collections Venus Drive (named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and The Fun Parts and four novels: HarkThe AskThe Subject Steve, and Home Land, which was a New York Times Notable Book and received the first annual Believer Book Award. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.