You Think That's Bad
June 15, 2011
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store is glad to welcome award-winning short story writer and novelist JIM SHEPARD for a reading from his most recent story collection, You Think That's Bad.
Like an expert curator, Jim Shepard populates the vastness of human experience—from its bizarre fringes and lonely, breathtaking pinnacles to the hopelessly mediocre and desperately below average—with brilliant scientists, reluctant soldiers, workaholic artists, female explorers, depraved murderers, and deluded losers.
A “black world” operative at Los Alamos isn’t allowed to tell his wife anything about his daily activities, but he can’t resist sharing her intimate confidences with his work buddy. A young Alpine researcher falls in love with the girlfriend of his brother, who was killed in an avalanche he believes he caused. An unlucky farm boy becomes the manservant of a French nobleman who’s as proud of his military service with Joan of Arc as he’s aroused by the slaughter of children. A free-spirited autodidact, grieving her lost sister, traces the ancient steps of a ruthless Middle Eastern sect and becomes the first Western woman to travel the Arabian deserts. From the inventor of the Godzilla epics to a miserable G.I. in New Guinea, each comes to realize that knowing better is never enough.
"In these stories, as in Godzilla, the true sadness belongs to the monster, which on Planet Shepard may just be another name for a man, a once-majestic beast whose shrieks and footfalls now sound ridiculous, if they sound at all. 'I love those shots of the city after the monster's gone,' one of Tsuburaya's collaborators tells him in the Godzilla story. 'All that emptiness, like a no-man's land in which eloquence and silence are joined.' For all their geographical and historical specificity, Shepard's stories end with the protagonist standing alone in the same denuded inner blast zone." —Slate
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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