Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning author and editor ELIZABETH EARLEY for a discussion of her new novel, Like Wings, Your Hands. Her reading will feature opening performances by acclaimed Boston-based poets and activists ZENAIDA PETERSON and COLE RODRIGUEZ.
Kalina, born in Bulgaria and now living in Boston, has always been a spiritual seeker. Her fourteen-year-old son, Marko, who has spina bifida and is partially paralyzed, shares her curiosity about larger metaphysical questions, but also has his own unique perspective on life: Marko perceives numbers as having colors, shapes, and textures―and they’re linked to emotions: embarrassment, for example, is fourteen; satisfaction is sixty-seven.
Kalina is determined to respect her son’s dignity and privacy as he embarks on the new terrain of adolescence, complicated as it is by his continued physical dependence on her care. She has other issues to wrestle with as well, including coming to understand her own life choices and her strained relationship with her father. Meanwhile, Marko, already expert at deep meditation, discovers a technique that allows him to experience a sense of boundlessness and also gain surprising insights into himself, his mother, and the grandfather he’s never met.
Both a philosophical novel and a coming-of-age story, Like Wings, Your Hands explores a mother-son relationship in the context of disability and interdependence, while also raising questions about the nature of time and space and the limitless capacities of the human mind.
“Elizabeth Earley has written a stunningly original novel—one that breaks ground as it breaks silences, one that thrums with insight and compassion and devastating beauty. Entering Like Wings, Your Hands feels like entering the dream box constructed by one of its characters—it catapults us through space and time, zooming us in to the cellular level and blasting us out to the stars. I love this book with 100% of my heart.” —Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds, a Bellwether Prize recipient
“A helixing of the various incapacities of our bodies, Like Wings, Your Hands embraces the courage of yearning and the hopeful escape of dreams. Elizabeth Earley is bold and real and unapologetically political and all the things every writer strives for—and profound, absolutely profound.” —Lily Hoang, author of Changing, a PEN Open Books Award recipient
“Like Wings, Your Hands takes us into a world that exists all around us, yet few of us even see. It’s a place of raw and heartbreaking human experience, and Elizabeth Earley has revealed its unique language: elemental, luminous, and beautiful.” —Peter Nichols, author of The Rocks
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.