Includes a copy of Tightrope
Out of stock
Thursday, 7:00 pm March 19, 2020
This event has been canceled. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powerhouse couple, Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling writers Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn join Joe Wilkins, 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize finalist to talk about the overlapping themes in their work. In both Tightrope and Fall Back Down When I Die, economic hardship among working-class Americans and the accompanying sense of desperation lead to violence, death, and despair. The authors look beyond the stereotypes to investigate the roots and expressions of hopelessness, and to better understand the ways power and class influence people to work against themselves and each other.
This conversation is part of our On America series, which investigates the systems of power that operate within stories we tell, explicitly and covertly affecting the way we perceive ourselves and others. Who are we? Who are we becoming? How do the stories we tell shape who we are as a nation?
Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn the first husband and wife to share a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, have coauthored four previous books: A Path Appears, Half the Sky, Thunder from the East, and China Wakes. They were awarded a Pulitzer in 1990 for their coverage of China, as well as the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Now an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Kristof was previously bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for his columns on Darfur. WuDunn worked at the Times as a business editor and foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing, and now works in finance and consulting. They live near New York City.
Joe Wilkins is the author of the award-winning memoir The Mountain and the Fathers. His work has appeared in the Georgia Review, the Harvard Review, Slate, and elsewhere. He is a Pushcart Prize winner and a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the PEN/USA Award. He lives with his wife and two children in western Oregon, where he teaches writing at Linfield College.
Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope
By Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an “other America.” The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
Fall Back Down When I Die
By Joe Wilkins
For readers of My Absolute Darling and Fourth of July Creek, a “riveting and timely” Montana story about the unbreakable bond between a young man and the abandoned boy put in his care (Jess Walter), as old grievances of land and blood are visited upon them.
Wendell Newman, a young ranch hand in Montana, has recently lost his mother, leaving him an orphan. His bank account holds less than a hundred dollars, and he owes back taxes on what remains of the land his parents owned, as well as money for the surgeries that failed to save his mother’s life.
An unexpected deliverance arrives in the form of seven-year-old Rowdy Burns, the mute and traumatized son of Wendell’s incarcerated cousin. When Rowdy is put under his care, what begins as an ordeal for Wendell turns into a powerful bond, as he comes to love the boy more than he ever thought possible. That bond will be stretched to the breaking point during the first legal wolf hunt in Montana in more than thirty years, when a murder ignites a desperate chase.
Caught on the wrong side of a disaffected fringe group, Wendell is determined both to protect Rowdy and to avoid the same violent fate that claimed his own father. A gripping story set in a fractured and misunderstood community, Fall Back Down When I Die is a haunting and unforgettable tale of sacrificial love.2 .
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