Ben Purkert and Ruth Madievsky at Harvard Book Store
The Men Can't Be Saved:
August 3, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes BEN PURKERT—author of For the Love of Endings—and RUTH MADIEVSKY—author of Emergency Brake—to discuss their latest novels The Men Can't Be Saved and All-Night Pharmacy.
About The Men Can't Be Saved
Seth is a junior copywriter whose latest tagline just went viral. He’s the agency’s hottest new star, or at least he wants his coworker crush to think so. But while he’s busy drooling over his future corner office, the walls crumble around him.
When his job lets him go, he can’t let go of his job. Thankfully, one former colleague can’t let him go either: Robert “Moon” McCloone, a skeezy on-the-rise exec better suited to a frat house than a boardroom. Seth tries to forget Moon and rediscover his spiritual self; he studies Kabbalah with an Orthodox rabbi by day while popping illegal prescription pills by night. But with each misstep, Seth strays farther from salvation—though he might get there, if he could only get out of his own way.
In his debut novel, Purkert incisively peels back the layers of the male ego, revealing what’s rotten and what might be redeemed. Brimming with wit, irreverence, and soul-searching, The Men Can’t Be Saved is a startlingly original examination of work, sex, addiction, religion, branding, and ourselves.
About All-Night Pharmacy
On the night of her high school graduation, a young woman follows her older sister Debbie to Salvation, a Los Angeles bar patronized by energy healers, aspiring actors, and all-around misfits. After the two share a bag of unidentified pills, the evening turns into a haze of sensual and risky interactions—nothing unusual for two sisters bound in an incredibly toxic relationship. Our unnamed narrator has always been under the spell of the alluring and rebellious Debbie and, despite her own hesitations, she has always said yes to nights like these. That is, until Debbie disappears.
Falling deeper into the life she cultivated with her sister, our narrator gets a job as an emergency room secretary where she steals pills to sell on the side. Cue Sasha, a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union who arrives at the hospital claiming to be a psychic tasked with acting as the narrator’s spiritual guide. The nature of this relationship evolves and blurs, a kaleidoscope of friendship, sex, mysticism, and ambiguous power dynamics.
With prose pulsing like a neon sign, Ruth Madievsky’s All-Night Pharmacy is an intoxicating portrait of a young woman consumed with unease over how a person should be. As she attempts sobriety and sexual embodiment, she must decide whether to search for her estranged sister, or allow her to remain a relic of the past.
Praise for The Men Can't Be Saved
“Ben Purkert is a magician with the pen. This is one of those unique novels that has you laughing on one page and wrestling with some of life’s biggest questions on the next. A phenomenal debut novel.” ―Clint Smith, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How the Word Is Passed
“The Men Can't Be Saved is an experience that transcends the act of reading fiction. It is an indictment, a call to self-examine, and ask questions, but it manages this while still being playful, lighthearted, and generous. What I love most about Purkert's writing—across genres—is that it finds a perfect line between a voice that is confident, but also grounding itself in the realities of uncertain living. That is a gift, and it shines through these pages.” ―Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America
Praise for All-Night Pharmacy
"All-Night Pharmacy is a genuinely propulsive and magnetic read. Madievsky's writing is rich and boldly dark, slick and queer in all the best ways. Immersing myself in her work felt akin to pressing on a bruise, a beautiful ache that I remembered long after I finished reading. A deeply human, wonderfully twisty novel that takes you down the rabbit hole of familial trauma and back up to the light again. All-Night Pharmacy is a glimmery showstopper of a debut novel. I'm obsessed with it." —Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things
"All-Night Pharmacy dances on the knife's edge of a sister's fierce love and the necessary loneliness of claiming your own destiny. Wry and tender, Ruth Madievsky's novel offers a sensitive portrayal of addiction and recovery, queer romance, and fraught family dynamics. A beautiful book and healing read, from beginning to end." —Jean Chen Ho, author of Fiona and Jane
Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.
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!
Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!
Shipping & Pickup
We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!Learn More »
Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!
Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.Learn More »