Harvard Book Store and GrubStreet welcome local writer MIRANDA POPKEY for a discussion of her debut novel, Topics of Conversation. She will be joined in conversation by NINA MACLAUGHLIN, the acclaimed author of Wake, Siren.
Miranda Popkey’s first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt—written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women—the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage—and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.
“An intimate evisceration of our narrow imaginings of female sexuality, a brilliantly structured character study, and a book that repeatedly asks how women can fully trust their own desires when they’ve grown up steeped in the wrong stories. Its narrator is as skeptical of her own self-delusive fictions as she is of the stifling clichés and shallow fantasies about women’s interior lives perpetuated by the wider culture.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“A pleasingly unsentimental novel about attraction and repulsion and the fluid line between the two. Popkey writes about these emotional eddies with such thrilling detachment you’ll wonder why you ever worried about love at all.” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
“Penetrating, brutal, a brilliant new voice in contemporary fiction.” —Ben Marcus, author of Notes from the Fog
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.