Virtual Event: Deirdre McNamer
in conversation with ANDREW MARTIN
April 15, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes novelist DEIRDRE MCNAMER—acclaimed author of One Sweet Quarrel, My Russian, and Red Rover—for a discussion of her latest novel, Aviary. She will be joined in conversation by writer ANDREW MARTIN, author of Early Work and Cool for America: Stories.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Aviary on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
At the deteriorating Pheasant Run, the occupants keep their secrets and sadnesses locked tight behind closed apartment doors. Kind Leo Umberti, formerly an insurance agent, now quietly spends his days painting abstract landscapes and mourning a long-ago loss. Down the hall, retired professor Rydell Clovis tries desperately to stay fit enough to restart a career in academia. Cassie McMackin, on the same floor, has seemingly lost everything—her husband and only child dead within months of each other—leaving her loosely tethered to this world. And a few doors away, her friend, Viola Six, is convinced of a criminal conspiracy involving the building’s widely disliked manager, Herbie Bonebright. Cassie and Viola dream of leaving their unhappy lives behind, but one woman’s plan is interrupted—and the other’s unexpectedly set into motion—when a fire breaks out in Herbie’s apartment.
Called to investigate is the city’s chief fire inspector. With a gift and a passion for sorting out the mysteries of flame, Lander Maki finds the fire itself, and the circumstances around it, highly suspicious. Viola has disappeared. So has Herbie. And a troubled teen, Clayton Spooner, was glimpsed fleeing the scene. In trying to fit together the pieces of this complicated puzzle, Lander finds himself learning more than expected about human nature and about personal and corporate greed as it is visited upon the vulnerable.
Beautifully written and long awaited, from a writer “with extraordinary emotional acuity and with a keen sense of the small detail that says it all” (Chicago Tribune), Aviary weaves a compelling tapestry of crisis, grief, and the mysteries of memory and old age.
Praise for Aviary
“A symphony of character, mystery, memory and hope, by one of America’s finest writers. Aviary is a book to hold dear.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less
"A riveting new novel by one of the great writers of our time, Aviary is a literary thriller that defies every expectation. Funny, tender, heartbreaking—a story of love and grief and mystery, of new beginnings found near the end of life. These pages stirred me deeply. This is a novel I’ve waited a long time for, and now that it’s here, I plan to read it again and again." —Emily Ruskovich, author of Idaho
“Where would we be without the always magnificent Deirdre McNamer? With Aviary, she has given us her best work yet, a novel brimming, room after room, with all our mercies and our hauntings. This is a house you want to explore forever, where the smallest acts can be as potent as revelations, and where we, on every beautiful, hilarious, and heart-heavy page, learn a little bit more about ourselves. I didn't want to leave it—a book I will return to, often, for faith, for light.” —Paul Yoon, author of Run Me to Earth
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