Steve Yarbrough


The Unmade World: 
A Novel

This event includes a book signing


January 18, 2018
7:00 PM


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


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning author and Emerson professor STEVE YARBROUGH for a discussion of his latest novel, The Unmade World.

About The Unmade World: A Novel

Set against a backdrop of the current political and cultural upheaval in the US and Eastern Europe, The Unmade World is a thoughtful, scope-y literary novel with a dose of suspense that moves from Poland to California to the Hudson Valley and back to Poland. It covers a decade in the lives of an American journalist and a Polish small businessman turned petty criminal and the wrenching aftermath of an accidental, tragic encounter between these two on a snowy night in 2006 on the outskirts of Krakow. The accident costs the lives of the American journalist Richard Brennan’s wife and daughter, an event that colors the rest of his life. It also leads to a downward spiral for Bogdan Baranowsk, leaving emotional scars as he suffers the seemingly inevitable loss of his business, his home, and his wife. The Unmade World is a story of ordinary, otherwise decent people from various backgrounds and circumstances who must learn how to live with the personal grief, sense of guilt, and the emotional consequences of violence. Along the way, the novel grapples with a spectrum of cultural and political issues. It includes a murder mystery wrapped around the corruption of major college sports, the pressures on immigrants and refugees in both the US and Poland, the fallout of political change, economic upheavals and armed conflicts--including the horrific destruction of Luhansk, Ukraine in 2014. It also references the 2016 presidential campaign, cultural politics in the American university, and the demise of print journalism, etc., though never in a dogmatic or overtly partisan way.


“What happens when everything you hold dear is taken from you? What kind of life must you live now? And how will you do it? These are just a few of the dramatically rich questions posed by Steve Yarbrough’s wonderful new novel, The Unmade World. Written with his characteristically compassionate yet unsentimental prose, and spanning a decade and two continents, Steve Yarbrough takes us deeply into the diverse lives of characters whose fates have forced them to confront the universal truth that everything given us is temporary, and we have only so much time to live the one life given to each of us. The Unmade World is a wise, moving, and deeply compelling story of our time here in the tumultuous early years of the 21st Century." —Andre Dubus III

“Steve Yarbrough is a master novelist, and this may be his finest work. Every word of The Unmade World rings true. Its settings are indelible. Its characters live and breathe. For a long time to come, I'll be pondering what this book has taught me about the human heart.” –Amy Greene

The Unmade World is tone perfect, skillfully constructed and consummately realized. It's the work of an extraordinary novelist. I'm fortunate to have read it.” —Richard Ford

“This many-layered novel is a thriller, a love story, a travelogue full of richly observed scenes, a morality tale replete with betrayal, remorse, and lust for revenge, and a hilarious comedy. The tight control Yarbrough exercises over the ten-year span of the story kept me turning the pages and left me full of admiration.” —Colm Toibin

Steve Yarbrough
Steve Yarbrough

Steve Yarbrough

Steve Yarbrough is the widely-acclaimed author of ten previous books for which he’s received numerous awards, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the California Book Award, the Richard Wright and the Robert Penn Warren Awards, etc. He has also been a PEN/Faulkner finalist. His work has been published in several foreign languages, including Dutch, Japanese and Polish, and in a number of other countries. Yarbrough currently teaches at Emerson College and lives in Stoneham, MA with his wife Ewa.

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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