Who: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, author of THE FACT OF A BODY + Melissa Febos, author of ABANDON ME
When: Wednesday, August 30 at 7:00 pm
Where: Papercuts J.P. - 5 Green Street
Tickets: $5 // buy online or in-store
Join Papercuts J.P. and La Rana Rossa for an evening with the authors of two of the year's finest memoirs.
Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defense of death-row convicted murderer and child molester Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.
Crime, even the darkest and must unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pours over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colors her view of Ricky's crime. The Fact of a Body is as haunting as it is haunted.
"This book is a marvel. With unflinching precision and immense compassion, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich peels apart both a murder case and her own experience to reveal how we try to make sense of the past. The Fact of a Body is equal parts gripping and haunting and will leave you questioning whether any one story can hold the full truth." —Celeste Ng, author of the New York TImes bestselling Everything I Never Told You
In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection—with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession—and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another.
“A powerful meditation on the pain of loss and the maddening, intoxicating, confusing, and exhilarating effects of true human closeness.” —Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable
Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart. Portions from Abandon Me have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, StoryQuarterly, and the Center for Women Writers, and twice earned notice in the 2015 Best American Essays anthology. Febos serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Monmouth University and on the M.F.A. faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lives in Brooklyn. melissafebos.com
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow in creative writing, an award given for her work on The Fact of A Body. Other honors in support of this book include a Rona Jaffe Award, a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, as well as fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center and Yaddo. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The New York Times, Oxford American, Salon, and the anthology TRUE CRIME. She has a JD from Harvard, an MFA from Emerson and a BA from Columbia University. Alexandria currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches memoir writing at Grub Street and teaches graduate public policy students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.