This event includes a book signing
February 6, 2018
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed novelist and journalist WILL SELF for a discussion of his latest book, Phone, the culmination of his trilogy that began with Umbrella and Shark.
Published to rave reviews in the United Kingdom, Phone tells the story of two men: Zack Busner and Jonathan De’Ath. Busner is a psychiatrist who has made his name through his unorthodox treatment of psychological damage, such as giving the controversial drug L-DOPA to patients ravaged by encephalitis, or administering LSD to World War II PTSD-sufferers. But now Busner’s own mind is fraying: Alzheimer’s is shredding his memory and his newest possession is a shiny smartphone given to him by his introverted grandson Ben. Meanwhile, Jonathan De’Ath, aka “the Butcher,” is an MI6 man who remains a mystery even to those closest to him, be it his washed-up old university lecturer father, his jumbling-bumbling mother, his hippy-dippy brothers, his spooky colleagues or multitudinous lovers. All of De’Ath’s acquaintances apply the “Butcher” epithet to him, and perhaps there is only one person who thinks of him with tenderness, a man he keeps top secret, encrypted in the databanks of his steely mind: Colonel Gawain Thomas, husband, father, highly-trained tank commander, and Jonathan De’Ath’s long-time lover. As Busner’s mind totters and Jonathan and Gawain’s affair teeters, they come to face the interconnectedness of all lives, online and off, while an irritating phone continues to ring . . . ring . . . ring . . .
“The characters’ stories unfold in abruptly ever-changing settings and viewpoints . . . trending towards entropy until an evolving unification of situations brings everything finally, and satisfyingly, into focus. The final installment of Self’s trilogy is an invigorating and challenging union of politics, history, and literary finesse.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“[D]rug-addled psychiatrist Zach Busner, a recurring character in Self’s fiction, is startlingly similar to Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom in his inability to process new forms of eroticism and spirituality as the stability of a world founded in modernist principles crumbles around him . . . The narrative reads and feels like an endless data stream, underscoring Self’s deliberate attempt to bury the reader in an avalanche of information. A sardonic end to Self’s modernist trilogy.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“[T]he hefty stream-of-consciousness conclusion to Self’s ambitious trilogy . . . Self’s densely cerebral prose leaps between narratives, disregarding linear storytelling and paragraph breaks in favor of extended musings that are often intelligent and periodically insightful.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Self’s modernist trilogy concludes with typical panache and wit . . . Phone is the final installment in what has shown itself to be one of the most ambitious and important literary projects of the 21st century . . . It’ll take you a couple of weeks to read all three novels properly. But I can’t think of a better way to spend your time. Self’s message is a perennially important one, brilliantly expressed: only connect.” ―Guardian (UK)
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.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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