This event includes a book signing
November 19, 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 and GrubStreet welcome NINA MACLAUGHLIN—the acclaimed local author of the memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter—for a discussion of her highly anticipated fiction debut, Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung.
About Wake, Siren
I am the home of this story. After thousands of years of other people’s tellings, of all these different bridges, of words gotten wrong, I’ll tell it myself.
Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses. But what happens when the story of the chase comes in the voice of the woman fleeing her rape? When the beloved coolly returns the seducer's gaze? When tales of monstrous transfiguration are sung by those transformed? In voices both mythic and modern, Wake, Siren revisits each account of love, loss, rape, revenge, and change. It lays bare the violence that undergirds and lurks in the heart of Ovid’s narratives, stories that helped build and perpetuate the distorted portrayal of women across centuries of art and literature.
Drawing on the rhythms of epic poetry and alt rock, of everyday speech and folk song, of fireside whisperings and therapy sessions, Nina MacLaughlin recovers what is lost when the stories of women are told and translated by men. She breathes new life into these fraught and well-loved myths.
Praise for Wake, Siren
"Nina MacLaughlin has done something audacious. She has invited the female characters in Ovid―daughter, mother, sister, wife, widow, queen, nymph, maenad, monster, even the blind seer Tiresias―to sing through her, and now we know how it feels to be stalked by Polyphemus, to be raped by Neptune, to be pregnant with Hercules, to be transformed into a reed, a cow, a fountain, a spider, a constellation. Wake, Siren is a stunning and sustained performance, in language bold and lyrical, direct yet sensual, and loaded with natural beauty.” ―Mary Norris, author of Greek to Me
"Provocative reinterpretations of some very old stories . . . MacLaughlin succeeds in making [them] fresh and distinct by allowing her protagonists to speak in their own voices. This creates stylistic variety across stories, but it also makes a powerful point . . . Some of these stories have distinctly modern touches―Galatea faints at a 7-Eleven because she's been on a fasting cleanse―but these moments only reinforce a sense of timelessness. There have always been men who will not hear when women speak. Vital, vivid, and angry." ―Kirkus, starred review
“Wake, Siren is by turns sensual and searing, a gorgeous book that completely enthralls its readers. Each page is a revelation, and their combined effect is a stunning and welcomed new perspective on Ovid’s myths. Nina MacLaughlin’s vision approaches clairvoyance and her voice is powerful, provocative, and, at this moment in history, undeniably necessary.” ―Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This
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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I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
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Harvard Book Store's New Voices in Fiction series, presented with GrubStreet, highlights debut fiction writers discussing their work and the writing process.
GrubStreet is one of the nation's leading creative writing centers, offering 500+ classes a year in all genres, for writers of all levels. We believe that narrative transforms lives, builds bridges, and produces empathy. By rigorously developing voices of every type and talent and by removing barriers to entry, GrubStreet fosters the creation of meaningful stories and ensures that excellent writing remains vital and relevant. To learn more or find a class, visit grubstreet.org.
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