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Harvard Book Store Virtual Event: Richard Flanagan and Jim Shepard
June 4, 2021 @ 6:00 pm
- June 4, 2021
- Event Category:
- Author Events
- Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States + Google Map
presenting The Living Sea of Waking Dreams: A Novel and Phase Six: A Novel
moderated by JOSHUA FERRIS
Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series is thrilled to welcome acclaimed, award-winning authors RICHARD FLANAGAN and JIM SHEPARD for a discussion of their latest, highly anticipated novels, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams and Phase Six. Their discussion will be moderated by JOSHUA FERRIS, author of the novel Then We Came to the End.
There are four ticket options available for this event.
Admission Ticket (including The Living Sea of Waking Dreams): $33.00: Includes one admission link and one copy of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams. US shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.
Admission Ticket (including Phase Six): $32.00: Includes one admission link and one copy of Phase Six. US shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.
Admission Ticket (including both titles): Includes one admission link, one copy of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, and one copy of Phase Six. US shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.
Pay-What-You-Can Ticket: Includes one admission link. We suggest a $5 donation to support Harvard Book Store’s staff and our virtual event series during these difficult times. Thank you for your support!
About The Living Sea of Waking Dreams
In a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, Anna’s aged mother is dying—if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight.
When Anna’s finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful story about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots.
About Phase Six
In a tiny settlement on the west coast of Greenland, 11-year-old Aleq and his best friend, frequent trespassers at a mining site exposed to mountains of long-buried and thawing permafrost, carry what they pick up back into their village, and from there Shepard’s harrowing and deeply moving story follows Aleq, one of the few survivors of the initial outbreak, through his identification and radical isolation as the likely index patient.
While he shoulders both a crushing guilt for what he may have done and the hopes of a world looking for answers, we also meet two Epidemic Intelligence Service investigators dispatched from the CDC—Jeannine, an epidemiologist and daughter of Algerian immigrants, and Danice, an M.D. and lab wonk. As they attempt to head off the cataclysm, Jeannine—moving from the Greeland hospital overwhelmed with the first patients to a Level 4 high-security facility in the Rocky Mountains—does what she can to sustain Aleq. Both a chamber piece of multiple intimate perspectives and a more omniscient glimpse into the megastructures (political, cultural, and biological) that inform such a disaster, the novel reminds us of the crucial bonds that form in the midst of catastrophe, as a child and several hypereducated adults learn what it means to provide adequate support for those they love. In the process, they celebrate the precious worlds they might lose, and help to shape others that may survive.
Praise for The Living Sea of Waking Dreams
“What an astonishing book this is . . . Masterful . . . Flanagan has delivered a book that both distills the literary qualities for which he has been celebrated for more than a quarter of a century and recasts our ideas about the kind of writer he is and what he can do. This novel is a revelation and triumph, from a writer demonstrating, yet again, the depths of his talent, while revelling in a new, unfamiliar register. It is at once timely and timeless, full of despair but leavened by hope, angry and funny and sad and a bit magical.” —Sydney Morning Herald
“Writers the world over are grappling with a version of this question: in the face of so much devastation, so much terror, what can fiction possibly achieve? The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is Flanagan’s emphatic, wrenching answer.” —Guardian Australia
Praise for Phase Six
“If you’ve been waiting for the great novel of the COVID-19 era, it’s in your hands. I read Phase Six with a galloping heart. With heroic humor and a poet’s ear and eye for what makes humanity worth saving, Shepard’s polyphonic novel of contagion and collapse is also the story of love’s unlikely survival in the most hostile conditions.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“No amount of prior admiration for Jim Shepard’s fiction prepared me for the magnificent Phase Six—a book at once so wise and so funny, so bleak and so tender. With astonishing virtuosity, he conveys huge amounts of information in a way that is not only lucid but utterly gripping, and he creates characters who make me want to rush into the novel to save them from the virus and themselves. What a triumph!” —Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field
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