• Pew

    by Catherine Lacey
    Price $26.00
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    Pew

Virtual Event: Catherine Lacey

presenting

Pew:
A Novel

in conversation with JESSE BALL

Date

Aug
3
Monday
August 3, 2020
7:00 PM

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $3 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes Whiting Award–winning writer CATHERINE LACEY—author of the acclaimed novels Nobody is Ever Missing and The Answers—for a discussion of her latest novel, Pew. She will be joined in conversation by JESSE BALL, celebrated author of the celebrated novels Census and The Divers' Game.

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About Pew

In a small, unnamed town in the American South, a church congregation arrives for a service and finds a figure asleep on a pew. The person is genderless and racially ambiguous and refuses to speak. One family takes in the strange visitor and nicknames them Pew.

As the town spends the week preparing for a mysterious Forgiveness Festival, Pew is shuttled from one household to the next. The earnest and seemingly well-meaning townspeople see conflicting identities in Pew, and many confess their fears and secrets to them in one-sided conversations. Pew listens and observes while experiencing brief flashes of past lives or clues about their origin. As days pass, the void around Pew’s presence begins to unnerve the community, whose generosity erodes into menace and suspicion. Yet by the time Pew’s story reaches a shattering and unsettling climax at the Forgiveness Festival, the secret of who they really are—a devil or an angel or something else entirely—is dwarfed by even larger truths.

Pew, Catherine Lacey’s third novel, is a foreboding, provocative, and amorphous fable about the world today: its contradictions, its flimsy morality, and the limits of judging others based on their appearance. With precision and restraint, one of our most beloved and boundary-pushing writers holds up a mirror to her characters’ true selves, revealing something about forgiveness, perception, and the faulty tools society uses to categorize human complexity.

Praise for Pew

“A stranger comes to town, and takes us with them into their estrangement among the denizens of a conservative religious community. The people of this community are stifling, and generous, cruel, earnest, needy, overconfident, fragile and repressive, which is to say that they are brilliantly rendered by their wise maker, Catherine Lacey.” —Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers

“The mercurial and electric Catherine Lacey has now conjured up an of-the-moment fable of trauma and projection—one part Kaspar Hauser, one part James Purdy, and one part Rachel Cusk. The pages shimmer with implication.” —Jonathan Lethem, author of The Feral Detective

"[A] puzzle of a novel . . . Lacey has always been an economical writer, and she is as taut as she’s ever been here . . . These monologues make sections of the book read like Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy blended with the creeping unease of Ari Aster’s horror film Midsommar . . . it is within [Pew's] messier reaches, and its concerns with inequality and prejudice, that its boldest and most brilliant effects are found." —Chris Power, The Guardian (Book of the Day)

Catherine Lacey
Catherine Lacey

Catherine Lacey

Catherine Lacey is the author of the novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers, and the short story collection Certain American States. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. She was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, The Believer, and elsewhere. Born in Mississippi, she is based in Chicago.

Jesse Ball
Jesse Ball

Jesse Ball

Jesse Ball is the author of many books. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

Photo Credit: Joe Lieske

 

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
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