The Flight Portfolio:
in conversation with LEWIS HYDE
This event includes a book signing
May 29, 2019
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 award-winning writer JULIE ORRINGER—author of The Invisible Bridge and How to Breathe Underwater—for a discussion of her latest novel, The Flight Portfolio. She will be joined in conversation by acclaimed scholar, translator, cultural critic, and writer LEWIS HYDE.
About The Flight Portfolio
In 1940, Varian Fry—a Harvard educated American journalist—traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to rescue within a few weeks. Instead, he ended up staying in France for thirteen months, working under the veil of a legitimate relief organization to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and set up an underground railroad that led over the Pyrenees, into Spain, and finally to Lisbon, where the refugees embarked for safer ports. Among his many clients were Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel, André Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall.
The Flight Portfolio opens at the Chagalls' ancient stone house in Gordes, France, as the novel's hero desperately tries to persuade them of the barbarism and tragedy descending on Europe. Masterfully crafted, exquisitely written, impossible to put down, this is historical fiction of the very first order, and resounding confirmation of Orringer's gifts as a novelist.
“Varian Fry lit a small, bright lamp in a world of darkness, and in the deft hands of Julie Orringer—under the spell of her masterful prose, her feeling portraiture, her classic spy-thriller plotting and her vivid recreation of that beautiful and terrible world—I found the radiance of Fry’s courage, flawed humanity, and steadfast resistance shedding an inexhaustible light on our own ever-darkening time.” —Michael Chabon
"No book this year could possibly compare with The Flight Portfolio: ambitious, meticulous, big-hearted, gorgeous, historical, suspenseful, everything you want a novel to be." —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less
"A historical novel absolutely relevant to our own time, The Flight Portfolio brings to life a hero as complex and engrossing as the agonizing ethical questions he faces. Orringer not only recreates the world of wartime Marseille, but seems to drop the reader there by way of a masterfully fashioned literary trapdoor—and anyone who picks up this spectacular novel risks a swift descent into its vivid and consuming swirl." —Nell Freudenberger
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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