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“Magnificent… As in 2010’s superb The Invisible Bridge, Orringer seamlessly combines compelling inventions with complex fact… Brilliantly conceived, impeccably crafted, and showcasing Orringer’s extraordinary gifts, this is destined to become a classic.”


-Publishers Weekly [starred review]

 

 


"In A Primer for Forgetting, that bold yet gentle intellectual adventurer, Lewis Hyde, harrows the bottomless mysteries of memory and forgetting, trauma and recovery, amnesia and commemoration, reconciliation and forgiveness. If this deep, poignant, soulful, inquisitive, gently tragic and disarmingly erudite book were nine times longer, I would still have felt sad when I realized it was coming to an end."

 

-Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow and Bookends

Julie Orringer Interviews Lewis Hyde on Embracing Forgetfulness

Tuesday June 18, 2019
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

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Julie Orringer and Lewis Hyde will discuss history, memory, and other common themes in their new books, The Flight Portfolio (Orringer) and A Primer for Forgetting (Hyde). 

“Bighearted, gorgeous, historical, suspenseful, everything you want a novel to be." —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less. Julie Orringer's The Flight Portfolio, inspired by the World War II story you’ve never heard—the real-life quest of an unlikely hero to save the lives and work of Europe’s great minds from the impending Holocaust. In 1940, Varian Fry traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to help escape within a few weeks. Instead, he stayed more than a year, working to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and arrange journeys across Spain and Portugal, where the refugees would embark for safer ports. His many clients included Hannah Arendt, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall, and the race against time to save them is a tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage.

A Primer for Forgetting is a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography, and social criticism by the author of the classics The Gift and Trickster Makes This World. It forges a new “history of forgetfulness” by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to the modern, weighing the potential boons forgetfulness might offer the present moment as a philosophical and political force. It also turns inward, using the author’s own life and memory as a canvas upon which to extol the virtues of a concept too long taken as an evil. Drawing material from Hesiod to Jorge Luis Borges to Elizabeth Bishop to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from myths and legends to very real and recent traumas both personal and historical, A Primer for Forgetting is a unique and remarkable synthesis that only Lewis Hyde could have produced.

 


Julie Orringer is the author of two award-winning books: The Invisible Bridge, a New York Times bestselling novel, and How to Breathe Underwater, a collection of stories. All of her work has been published by Alfred A. Knopf, and her books have been translated into twenty languages. Her stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Granta Book of the American Short Story and The Scribner Anthology of American Short Fiction. She is the winner of the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children, and is at work on a novel set in New Orleans.

 


Lewis Hyde's interests center on the public life of the imagination. His 1983 book, The Gift, is an inquiry into the situation of creative artists in a commercial society. Trickster Makes This World (1998) is a portrait of the kind of disruptive imagination needed to keep any culture flexible and alive. Hyde has also published a book of poems, This Error is the Sign of Love, and edited a number of volumes, including The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau, a book of responses to the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and selected poems of the Nobel Prize-winning Spaniard, Vicente Aleixandre. Hyde most recently published Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership, a book about "cultural commons," that vast, unowned store of ideas, inventions and art that we have inherited from the past and continue to create in the present.