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Taymour Soomro and Meng Jin at Harvard Book Store presents Other Names for Love: A Novel and Self-Portrait with Ghost: Short Stories

August 11, 2022 @ 7:00 pm


August 11, 2022
7:00 pm
Event Category:


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515

Other Names for Love: A NovelSelf-Portrait with Ghost: Short Stories

This event includes a book signing

This event was RESCHEDULED from July 21, 2022.

Harvard Book Store welcomes debut novelist TAYMOUR SOOMRO and Little Gods author MENG JIN for discussion of their respective books Other Names for Love: A Novel and Self-Portrait with Ghost: Short Stories.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to re-introduce in-person programming this season. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Other Names for Love

At age sixteen, Fahad hopes to spend the summer with his mother in London. His father, Rafik, has other plans: hauling his son to Abad, the family’s feudal estate in upcountry, Pakistan. Rafik wants to toughen up his sensitive boy, to teach him about power, duty, family―to make him a man. He enlists Ali, a local teenager, in this project, hoping his presence will prove instructive.

Instead, over the course of one hot, indolent season, attraction blooms between the two boys, and Fahad finds himself seduced by the wildness of the land and its inhabitants: the people, who revere and revile his father in turn; cousin Mousey, who lives alone with a man he calls his manager; and most of all, Ali, who threatens to unearth all that is hidden.

Decades later, Fahad is living abroad when he receives a call from his mother summoning him home. His return will force him to face the past. Taymour Soomro’s Other Names for Love is a tale of masculinity, inheritance, and desire set against the backdrop of a country’s troubled history, told with uncommon urgency and beauty.

Praise for Other Names for Love

“An exceptional novel about fathers and sons, desire and love, and the long reach of the past. It’s a relief to encounter writing this beautifully wrought, to enter a world this meticulously realized, and to read a novel so bold, so committed.” ―Sunjeev Sahota, author of The Year of the Runaways

“This haunted, haunting novel is about the cruelties we commit in our search for freedom and the bonds from which we can never be free. Taymour Soomro’s piercing insight is that both the freedom and the bonds are constituent of love.” ―Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

About Self-Protrait with a Ghost

Meng Jin’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Little Gods, was praised as “spectacular and emotionally polyphonic (Omar El-Akkad, BookPage), “powerful” (Washington Post), and “meticulously observed, daringly imagined” (Claire Messud). Now Jin turns her considerable talents to short fiction, in ten thematically linked stories.

Written during the turbulent years of the Trump administration and the first year of the pandemic, these stories explore intimacy and isolation, coming-of-age and coming to terms with the repercussions of past mistakes, fraying relationships and surprising moments of connection. Moving between San Francisco and China, and from unsparing realism to genre-bending delight, Self-Portrait with Ghost considers what it means to live in an age of heightened self-consciousness, seemingly endless access to knowledge, and little actual power.

Page-turning, thought-provoking, and wholly unique, Self-Portrait with Ghost further establishes Meng Jin as a writer who “reminds us that possible explanations in our universe are as varied as the beings who populate it” (Paris Review).

Praise for Self-Portrait with a Ghost

“Alluring, mysterious, and crackling with sly intelligence. In stories that move from San Francisco to urban China to a city where people walk through walls, Self-Portrait with Ghost stares into the churning inner lives of women who are complex, contradictory, and always fascinating. You will be mesmerized.” —C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills is Gold

Self-Portrait with Ghost is both haunted and haunting, populated with indelible characters who seem to live and breathe. And haunting, in that each of these stories casts a spell over ordinary life. Meng Jin writes with perception, precision, and humor, drawing from a well deep with desire—for love, for experience, for life itself. I will read anything she writes.” —Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye Vitamin