November 10, 2021

Alexandra Marshall

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes novelist ALEXANDRA MARSHALL—author of The Court of Common Pleas and Still Waters—for a discussion of her latest book, The Silence of Your Name: The Afterlife of a Suicide. She will be joined in conversation by MEGAN MARSHALL, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.


The Silence Of Your Name revolves around the suicide of Marshall's charismatic and idealistic young husband, Tim Buxton, while they were in Ghana with Operation Crossroads Africa—a progenitor of the Peace Corps. Marshall weaves in her husband's hidden family history, one tied to Boston's wealthy social scene and the deaths of notorious Black Sun publisher Harry Crosby and Tim's aunt Josephine Rotch Bigelow. By allowing readers to experience these distinct periods of time in great detail, Marshall illuminates the toxic effects of denial across classes and generations.

As Marshall moves on with her life, now a novelist and young widow, she must navigate her way in the '70s publishing world with the guidance of her friend Philip Roth, while still processing the grief of losing her husband. Decades later, Marshall finds herself in the footprints of her past, journeying to Ghana and reuniting with a royal Queen-Mother and the steadfast community that offered her its support decades earlier. As Pulitzer Prize-winning author Megan Marshall writes, she "is relentless in her quest for understanding and release from grief and guilt . . . but wisdom comes incrementally and her readers partake eagerly at each stage until we, too, have learned that grief may be transformed into love—and brilliant, soothing prose."

About Author(s)

Alexandra Marshall's essays and short fiction have appeared in AGNIFive PointsHunger MountainLiterary HubPloughsharesThe American ProspectThe American ScholarBoston GlobeNew York Times, and in several anthologies. She has published five novels (Gus in BronzeTender OfferThe Brass BedSomething Borrowed, and The Court of Common Pleas) and a nonfiction book, Still Waters.

Megan Marshall is the author of three biographies, The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism, the winner of the Francis Parkman Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography; Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction and the Pulitzer Prize in Biography; and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, a finalist for the Christian Gauss Award of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She is the Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor at Emerson College, where she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program, and the 2020–2021 president of the Society of American Historians.