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New York Times Bestselling Author at Left Bank Books
August 16, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree
The public is invited to a free talk and book signing on Friday, August 16, at 7 pm, at Left Bank Books in downtown Belfast, by bestselling author Suzannah Lessard. Her latest book, “The Absent Hand: Reimagining Our American Landscape,” has been called “an engrossing work of literary nonfiction.” Lessard, who is the great-granddaughter of renowned architect Stanford White, is also the author of “The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stanford White Family,” a New York Times Notable Book of The Year in 1996.
In “The Absent Hand” Lessard, who is a self-described “collector of places,” writes a sophisticated series of essays that are a blend of historical travelogue, reportorial probing, philosophical meditation, and prose poem as she describes and reimagines our landscapes. She guides us through places that have meant something to her personally—the Hudson River Valley, a neighborhood in Brooklyn—as well as those with larger resonance, such as preserved Civil War battlefields, whitewashed Southern plantations, the King of Prussia shopping mall, and the Columbia University campus.
Lessard takes a “deep dive” into our surroundings – cities, countryside, and sprawl – and explores change in the meaning of place and reimagining the world in a time of transition. Whether it’s climate change, which is altering the meaning of nature, or digital communications that are changing the nature of work, the effects of global enclosure on the meaning of place are inescapable. No one will finish this book without having their ideas of living and settling in their surroundings profoundly enriched.
In a rave review by Booklist, “Absent Hand” is called a “genre-burning work of criticism – part history, part travel diary, part personal narrative – [that] explores the contradictions of the American landscape. In episodic chapters, Lessard probes. . .the mountain villages of upstate New York; Brooklyn housing projects; the sprawl and megamall of King of Prussia (PA); and plantations in Natchez (MS). . . .[This is] a stellar work of landscape criticism, a rapturous meditation on the revelatory power of place.”
Lessard was a founding editor of The Washington Monthly and a staff writer at The New Yorker for 20 years (1975 – 1995); she currently teaches creative writing at The New School in New York City. She is a recipient of the Whiting and Lukas Awards and has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and George Washington University.
Reservations for the free talk and signing are strongly encouraged. Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (207-338-9009) Left Bank Books to reserve a seat. If you can’t make the signing, the bookshop is happy to take your order and have your book(s) signed for later pick up or shipment. Left Bank Books is located at 109 Church St. in downtown Belfast, in the historic Opera House building. Ample parking is available on the street and in an adjacent public parking lot.