- This event has passed.
- August 18, 2020
- Event Category:
- Author Events
presenting Impersonation: A Novel
in conversation with JOANNA RAKOFF
Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series welcomes writer and editor HEIDI PITLOR—series editor of The Best American Short Stories and author of the novel The Daylight Marriage—for a discussion of her latest novel, Impersonation. She will be joined in conversation by acclaimed Cambridge writer JOANNA RAKOFF.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Impersonation on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
Allie Lang is a professional ghostwriter and a perpetually broke single mother to a young boy. Years of navigating her own and America’s cultural definitions of motherhood have left her a lapsed idealist. Lana Breban is a powerhouse lawyer, economist, and advocate for women’s rights with designs on elected office. She also has a son. Lana and her staff have decided she needs help softening her public image and that a memoir about her life as a mother will help.
When Allie lands the job as Lana’s ghostwriter, it seems as if things will finally go Allie’s way. At last, she thinks, there will be enough money not just to pay her bills but to actually buy a house. After years of working as a ghostwriter for other celebrities, Allie believes she knows the drill: she has learned how to inhabit the lives of others and tell their stories better than they can.
But this time, everything becomes more complicated. Allie’s childcare arrangements unravel; she falls behind on her rent; her subject, Lana, is better at critiquing than actually providing material; and Allie’s boyfriend decides to go on a road trip toward self-discovery. But as a writer for hire, Allie has gotten too used to being accommodating. At what point will she speak up for all that she deserves?
A satirical, incisive snapshot of how so many of us now live, Impersonation tells a timely, insightful, and bitingly funny story of ambition, motherhood, and class.
Praise for Impersonation
“By turns revealing, hilarious, dishy, and razor-sharp, Impersonation lives in that rarest of sweet spots: the propulsive page-turner for people with high literary standards.” —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
“Impersonation is the book we need now: an unflinching look at our current moment, and at questions few of us dare to ask. If our personas do good in the world, does it matter what we did to create them? How much hypocrisy are liberals willing to tolerate? Can women raise good men? Provocative, heartfelt, and often hilarious, this is a novel I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come.” —Anna Solomon, author of The Book of V
“For our heroine Allison, this is her story of survival and endurance in these maddening times. She goes to extraordinary measures for her son and her work, yet the path is not always clear, and far from easy. A gifted storyteller, Pitlor is also not afraid to ask the tough questions. What does it mean to raise good boys? Good people? What does it mean to be a woman, a feminist, a believer in others and, above all, in yourself?” —Weike Wang, author of Chemistry