Harvard Book Store, Politics and Prose, and Books & Books welcome JENNIFER HAIGH—the award-winning author of Mrs. Kimble, Baker Towers, and News from Heaven—for a discussion of her latest novel, Mercy Street. She will be joined in conversation by celebrated novelist ANDRE DUBUS III.
About Mercy Street
For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.
But outside the clinic, the reality is different. Anonymous threats are frequent. A small, determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators appears each morning at its door. As the protests intensify, fear creeps into Claudia’s days, a humming anxiety she manages with frequent visits to Timmy, an affable pot dealer in the midst of his own existential crisis. At Timmy’s, she encounters a random assortment of customers, including Anthony, a lost soul who spends most of his life online, chatting with the mysterious Excelsior11—the screenname of Victor Prine, an anti-abortion crusader who has set his sights on Mercy Street and is ready to risk it all for his beliefs.
Mercy Street is a novel for right now, a story of the polarized American present. Jennifer Haigh, “an expert natural storyteller with a keen sense of her characters’ humanity” (New York Times), has written a groundbreaking novel, a fearless examination of one of the most divisive issues of our time.
Praise for Mercy Street
“Mercy Street is propulsive, urgent, and essential. Haigh writes with uncommon insight and compassion (and, yes, mercy) about people whose ideals are so strikingly at odds that we can only wait for their lives to collide. I was riveted and transported, and want to hand this book to everyone I know.” —Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Great Believers
“Mercy Street is a savvy, keen-eyed, witty, wise, and altogether luminous novel. A triumph. Jennifer Haigh is a young master of this form. Though, at day’s end, I’d read her just to read her.” —Richard Ford
“I’m just going to say it: Jennifer Haigh is the greatest novelist of our generation. And Mercy Street is her best novel yet.” —Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year