Eileen Pollack

discusses

A Perfect Life:
A Novel

in conversation with CELESTE NG

This event includes a book signing

Date

May
13
Friday
May 13, 2016
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes author of The Only Woman in the Room EILEEN POLLACK and bestselling author CELESTE NG for a discussion of Pollack's latest book, A Perfect Life—a luminous and insightful novel that considers the moral complexities of scientific discovery and the sustaining nature of love.

About A Perfect Life

A young researcher at MIT, Jane Weiss is obsessed with finding the genetic marker for Valentine’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. Her pursuit is deeply personal—Valentine’s killed her mother, and she and her freewheeling sister, Laurel, could be genetic carriers; each has a fifty percent chance of developing the disease. Having seen firsthand the devastating effect Valentine’s had on her parents’ marriage, Jane is terrified she might become a burden on whomever she falls in love with and so steers clear of romantic entanglement. Then, the summer before her father’s second wedding, Jane falls hard for her future stepbrother, Willie. But Willie’s father also died from Valentine’s, raising the odds that their love will end in tragedy.

When Willie bolts at a crucial moment in their relationship, Jane becomes obsessed with finding the genetic marker to the disease that threatens both their families. But if she succeeds in making history, will she and her sister have the courage to face the truth this newfound knowledge could hold for their lives? A Perfect Life is a novel of scientific and self discovery, about learning how to embrace life and love, no matter what may come. Eileen Pollack conjures a thought-provoking, emotionally resonant story of one woman’s brilliance and bravery as she confronts her deepest fears and desires—and comes to accept the inevitable and the unexpected.

Praise

A Perfect Life probes how we live in the face of uncertainty and the ways risk can both disable and empower us. In her latest novel, Eileen Pollack has crafted a tender exploration of family love that is as smart and thought-provoking as it is moving.” —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“A tense scientific mystery propels this gripping novel, but what resonates most powerfully are the keenly-observed discoveries Jane makes about even deeper mysteries: the risks and pleasures of being human, and the nuances—as well as the costs—of love.” —Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

“Pollack expertly and sensitively focuses on the nuances of ambivalence and on the human dilemma of what to do in the complex ethical situations that arise from genetic research.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Eileen Pollack’s highly compelling new novel takes on searing questions of fate and family. . . . Jane’s challenge is deeply universal: how to find the courage and sheer will it takes to grasp the keenly precious moments of life even as they tremble and threaten to shake us apart.” —Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the ALA’s Alex Award. Her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, was published by Penguin Press in September 2017, is a New York Times bestseller, and was named a best book of the year by over 25 publications. It was also the winner of the Goodreads Readers Choice Award 2017 in Fiction. She is a 2016 NEA fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Kevin Day Photography

Eileen Pollack
Eileen Pollack

Eileen Pollack

Eileen Pollack is the author of two previous novels, two story collections, and two books of nonfiction, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michener Foundation and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Her work has been included in both the Best American Short Stories and the Best American Essays series. Pollack has been a professor at the Helen Zell MFA Program at the University of Michigan since 1999, and was a director of the program for five years. She now divides her time between Ann Arbor and Manhattan.

Photo Credit: Michele McDonald

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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