Virtual Event: Laird Hunt
in conversation with ERICA WAGNER
February 9, 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 LAIRD HUNT—author of the acclaimed novels Neverhome, The Evening Road, and In the House in the Dark of the Woods—for a discussion of his latest novel, Zorrie. He will be joined in conversation by celebrated writer and critic ERICA WAGNER, author of Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 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 Zorrie on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
“It was Indiana, it was the dirt she had bloomed up out of, it was who she was, what she felt, how she thought, what she knew.”
As a girl, Zorrie Underwood's modest and hardscrabble home county was the only constant in her young life. After losing both her parents, Zorrie moved in with her aunt, whose own death orphaned Zorrie all over again, casting her off into the perilous realities and sublime landscapes of rural, Depression-era Indiana. Drifting west, Zorrie survived on odd jobs, sleeping in barns and under the stars, before finding a position at a radium processing plant. At the end of each day, the girls at her factory glowed from the radioactive material.
But when Indiana calls Zorrie home, she finally finds the love and community that have eluded her in and around the small town of Hillisburg. And yet, even as she tries to build a new life, Zorrie discovers that her trials have only begun.
Spanning an entire lifetime, a life convulsed and transformed by the events of the 20th century, Laird Hunt's extraordinary novel offers a profound and intimate portrait of the dreams that propel one tenacious woman onward and the losses that she cannot outrun. Set against a harsh, gorgeous, quintessentially American landscape, this is a deeply empathetic and poetic novel that belongs on a shelf with the classics of Willa Cather, Marilynne Robinson, and Elizabeth Strout.
Praise for Zorrie
“This is not a just book you are holding in your hands; it is a life. Laird Hunt gives us here the portrait of a woman painted with the finest brush imaginable, while also rendering great historical shifts with bold single strokes. A poignant, unforgettable novel, Zorrie is Hunt at his best.” —Hernan Diaz, author of In the Distance
“A sweeping, lyrical and profound portrait of a remarkable woman moving through the perils and wonders of 20th century American life. Zorrie will break your heart with its propulsive beauty, depth and grace.” —Mona Awad, author of Bunny
“Zorrie is a beautiful novel. It is gentle, yet full of surprises, and Zorrie, the protagonist who loves her farm and Elvis, is a wonderful creation.” —Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
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