Ben Lerner: The Topeka School with Sandra Martin
Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of 1997. His mother, Jane, is a famous feminist author; his father, Jonathan, is an expert at getting "lost boys" to open up. They both work at the Foundation, a well-known psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. Adam is also one of the seniors who brings the loner Darren Eberheart--who is, unbeknownst to Adam, his father's patient--into the social scene, with disastrous effects.
This is the story of a family's struggles and strengths: Jane's reckoning with the legacy of an abusive father, Jonathan's marital transgressions, the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity. It is also a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the new right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men.
A Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a Barack Obama’s Top Pick.
This Lecture is part of the 2020-21 Literary Lecture Series, a popular series has been described as a cross between a traditional book club and a university course without exams. Registration for this event is currently restricted to registration for the Subscription Series (available here).
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