Upcoming Event

Ann Leary and Laura Zigman at Harvard Book Store

presenting

The Foundling:
A Novel

and

Separation Anxiety:
A Novel

moderated by ALEX GREEN

Date

Jun
1
Wednesday
June 1, 2022
7:00 PM ET

Location

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

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning authors ANN LEARY and LAURA ZIGMAN for a discussion of their respective books The Foundling: A Novel and Separation Anxiety: A Novel. Their conversation will be moderated by disability scholar ALEX GREEN.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to re-introduce in-person programming this season. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About The Foundling

It’s 1927 and eighteen-year-old Mary Engle is hired to work as a secretary at a remote but scenic institution for mentally disabled women called the Nettleton State Village for Feebleminded Women of Childbearing Age. She’s immediately in awe of her employer—brilliant, genteel Dr. Agnes Vogel.

Dr. Vogel had been the only woman in her class in medical school. As a young psychiatrist she was an outspoken crusader for women’s suffrage. Now, at age forty, Dr. Vogel runs one of the largest and most self-sufficient public asylums for women in the country. Mary deeply admires how dedicated the doctor is to the poor and vulnerable women under her care.

Soon after she’s hired, Mary learns that a girl from her childhood orphanage is one of the inmates. Mary remembers Lillian as a beautiful free spirit with a sometimes-tempestuous side. Could she be mentally disabled? When Lillian begs Mary to help her escape, alleging the asylum is not what it seems, Mary is faced with a terrible choice. Should she trust her troubled friend with whom she shares a dark childhood secret? Mary’s decision triggers a hair-raising sequence of events with life-altering consequences for all.

Inspired by a true story about the author’s grandmother, The Foundling offers a rare look at a shocking chapter of American history. This gripping page-turner will have readers on the edge of their seats right up to the stunning last page…asking themselves, “Did this really happen here?”

About Separation Anxiety

Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.

Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.

Wickedly funny and surprisingly tender, Separation Anxiety offers a frank portrait of middle-aged limbo, examining the ebb and flow of life’s most important relationships. Tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.

Praise for The Foundling

"Leary’s latest is a stunning tale of corruption, compassion, and hope, and includes one of the best endings I’ve read in ages. She’s reached back in history and uncovered a shockingly true story, one that resonates strongly today. Full of jaw-dropping twists and intriguing characters—you won’t be able to put it down." —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

"Ann Leary’s The Foundling is a compelling, shocking record of a too-hidden piece of history—when eugenics was commonly applauded as progressive social science . . . A stunning reminder that not much time has passed since everyone claimed to know what was best for a woman—everyone except the woman herself.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

Praise for Separation Anxiety

“I love Separation Anxiety . . . Laura Zigman is an emotional sharp-shooter—she is able to home in on the most tender, revealing, exquisitely painful aspects of our relationships with others and with ourselves. And somehow she manages to come out the other end with hope, having found what was most meaningful after all. And by the way, I can totally relate to the desire to wear one’s dog. If I could, I would.” —Chelsea Handler

Separation Anxiety is a hilarious, heart-breaking and thought-provoking portrait of a difficult marriage, as fierce as it is funny . . . [Zigman’s] sharp eye for contemporary life is a revelation . . . My advice: Start reading and don’t stop until you get to the last page of this wise and wonderful novel.” —Alice Hoffman

Alex Green
Alex Green

Alex Green

Alex Green is on the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School where he teaches political communications, and the faculty of UMass Amherst where he teaches disability policy. He is an advocate, writer, and scholar on the history of disability institutions in America. In 2017, he led the creation of a nationally recognized project-based, community-focused disability history curriculum for high school students at Gann Academy. He is writing a book for Bellevue Press about the life of Walter E. Fernald, the founder of American special education.

Ann Leary
Ann Leary

Ann Leary

Ann Leary is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels, The Children, The Good House, Outtakes From a Marriage and the memoir, An Innocent, A Broad. Her Modern Love essay, “Rallying to Keep the Game Alive,” was adapted for the Amazon Modern Love TV Series and stars Tina Fey and John Slattery. Ann and her husband Denis Leary live in New York.

Photo Credit: Scott M. Lacey

Laura Zigman
Laura Zigman

Laura Zigman

Laura Zigman is the author of 5 novels, including Separation Anxiety; Animal Husbandry (which was made into the movie Someone Like You, starring Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd), Dating Big Bird, Her, and Piece of Work. She has ghostwritten/collaborated on several works of non-fiction, including Eddie Izzard's New York Times bestseller, Believe Me; been a contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, son, and deeply human Sheltie.

Photo credit: Adrienne Mathiowetz

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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