Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series welcomes FLORENCE WILLIAMS—the award-winning author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History and The Nature Fix—for a discussion of her latest book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. She will be joined in conversation by CLAIRE DEDERER, the New York Times bestselling author of Love and Trouble and Poser.
When her twenty-five-year marriage unexpectedly falls apart, journalist Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll end up in the hospital, examining close-up the way our cells listen to loneliness. She travels to the frontiers of the science of “social pain” to learn why heartbreak hurts so much and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.
Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, Williams tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks in a laboratory while looking at pictures of her ex, and ventures to the wilderness in search of awe as an antidote to loneliness. For readers of Wild and Lab Girl, Heartbreak is a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery that will change the way we think about loneliness, health, and what it means to fall in and out of love.
Praise for Heartbreak
“This surprisingly frank and funny book is what happens when a formidable science journalist turns her powers of observation and inquiry on her own broken heart.” —Bonnie Tsui, author of Why We Swim
“What a powerful book. Williams captures the heartache of divorce and the crooked road back to living. Colorful, imaginative and poignant—Heartbreak tells a gripping story of courage, sex, and adventure packed with all the newest hard science on romance and attachment. I’ve studied love for over 40 years and I was taking notes. It’s a magnificent, wise, and remarkable read!” —Helen Fisher, author of The Anatomy of Love
“Heartbreak by Florence Williams is a graceful account of losing a marriage and finding another way of being. With vulnerability and veracity, Williams seeks various modes of understanding the physicality of loss. Whoever has felt the blistering heat of a broken heart will thank Florence Williams for a clear moving river of discoveries.” —Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion