in conversation with DAVID ALWORTH
This event includes a book signing
March 11, 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 designer and writer PETER MENDELSUND, whose work has been described by the Wall Street Journal as “the most instantly recognizable and iconic in contemporary fiction,” for a discussion of his debut novel, Same Same. He will be joined in conversation by Harvard humanities associate professor DAVID ALWORTH.
About Same Same
In the shifting sands of the desert, near an unnamed metropolis, there is an institute where various fellows come to undertake projects of great significance. But when our sort-of hero, Percy Frobisher, arrives, surrounded by the simulated environment of the glass-enclosed dome of the Institute, his mind goes completely blank. When he spills something on his uniform—a major faux pas—he learns about a mysterious shop where you can take something, utter the command “same same,” and receive a replica even better than the original. Imagining a world in which simulacra have as much value as the real—so much so that any distinction between the two vanishes, and even language seeks to reproduce meaning through ever more degraded copies of itself—Peter Mendelsund has crafted a deeply unsettling novel about what it means to exist and to create . . . and a future that may not be far off.
“Most books aspire to imitate life; this one succeeds in imitating literature. A fractal abyss of copies copying copies, this brilliant and hilarious full-size replica of a novel exposes the limits of conventional narratives by miraculously transmuting repetition into difference and, ultimately, something unique.” —Hernán Diaz, author of In the Distance
“A deeply inventive and wonderfully strange novel that takes dead aim at the question: does it matter if something's real?” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
“[Mendelsund] has a grand time serving up what would seem to be an extended metaphor for creativity . . . that would do Brian Eno proud. Mendelsund's novel of ideas makes a neat bookend to Richard Powers's Galatea 2.2 as a study of creation in the age of the smart machine.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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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