Joanna Luloff and Heather Abel
Remind Me Again What Happened:
The Optimistic Decade:
This event includes a book signing
July 16, 2018
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 writers JOANNA LULOFF and HEATHER ABEL for a discussion of their debut novels, Remind Me Again What Happened and The Optimistic Decade.
About Remind Me Again What Happened
Claire wakes in a hospital room in the Florida Keys. She has no idea how she got there or why. The loss of so many memories is paralyzing. Some things she can piece together by looking at old photos saved by her husband, Charlie, and her best friend, Rachel, and by combing through boxes of letters and casual jottings. But she senses a mystery at the center of all these fragments of her past, a feeling that something is not complete. Is Charlie still her husband? Is Rachel still her friend?
Told from alternating points of view that pull the reader into the minds of the three characters, the story unfolds as the smudge that covers Claire’s memory is gradually, steadily wiped away, until finally she can understand the why and the how of her life. And then maybe she and Charlie and Rachel can move forward, but with their lives forever changed.
In Remind Me Again What Happened, debut novelist Joanna Luloff has written a moving and beautifully nuanced story of transience, the ebb and flow of time, and how relationships shift and are reconfigured by each day, hour, and minute.
About The Optimistic Decade
Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, The Optimistic Decade takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters and is a sweeping novel about idealism, love, class, and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it.
There is Caleb Silver, the beloved founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There are the ranchers, Don and son Donnie, who gave up their land to Caleb, having run out of options after Exxon came and went and left them bankrupt. There is Rebecca Silver, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of Llamalo and new love; and there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. But situated on a plateau in the heart of the Rockies, Llamalo proves that it might outlast anyone’s heady plans for it, from the earliest Native American settlers to the latest lovers of the land.
Like Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, Heather Abel’s novel is a brilliant exploration of the bloom and fade of idealism and how it forever changes one’s life. Or so we think.
Praise for Remind Me Again What Happened
"Claire wakes from a coma with only fragmented memories, and her struggle toward recovery is both a haunting mystery story and a beautiful meditation on the questions of what, exactly, identity, love and friendship are made up of. Remind Me Again What Happened is a gripping debut novel, and Joanna Luloff is a writer to watch!" —Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
"Remind Me Again What Happened is a profound and elegiac exploration of the relationship between memory and identity, the way one has the power to remake the other. Joanna Luloff is a splendid writer, and this haunting novel is a wonderful testament to her gifts." —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me
“I'm a great fan of Joanna Luloff's lovely book, The Beach at Galle Road. The aptly titled Remind Me Again What Happened takes it to another level. The novel is a powerful yet intimate, even achingly honest, examination of love, friendship, betrayal, and the limits of repentance. Highly recommended." —Peter Orner, author of Underground America
Praise for The Optimistic Decade
“A coming-of-age story set in the age of Reagan and Bush, Heather Abel’s wonderful novel asks a question that’s more relevant now than ever: Amid the maddening news of the world, how do you go about living an authentic life? Perceptive, funny, and utterly original, The Optimistic Decade is a book for anyone who’s navigated the twin crises of idealism and youth.” —Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
“What does it mean to measure our goodness against wide-open spaces? In Heather Abel’s sharp, beautiful debut, American idealism and the obsession with land meet up on a single plateau in the Rockies, leading to a summer of stunning consequences. Long after The Optimistic Decade has ended, readers will linger with these pages, haunted by Abel's ability to bring both the spectacular and the intimate to life.” —Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing
“Heather Abel writes with beguiling humor about the possibilities of self-transformation and the limits of idealism. I love the warmth with which she invokes her characters, young and middle-aged, and the wit with which she invokes their longing to be their best selves. The Optimistic Decade is a gripping and very timely debut.” —Margot Livesey, author of Mercury
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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