Suffering doesn’t make us noble, but it forces itself into our lives anyway. Akhil Sharma reads from his new book Family Life, some thirteen years in the making. Sharma uses precise prose to create moments of intense pain, duty, and revelation as a young boy and his family learn to live through a wrenching tragedy. The eminent Renato Rosaldo will open with a reading from his new book The Day of Shelly’s Death. Made up of a blend he calls antropoesía—a cycle of poems and his landmark essay, “Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage”—the books explores the day of his wife’s sudden death in 1981, and opens an inquiry into grief itself.
Akhil Sharma has been among the most compelling voices in US fiction since his short stories began appearing in The New Yorker andThe Atlantic, and subsequently winning O. Henry Awards. His blockbuster first novel, An Obedient Father, earned exuberant praise both for its subtlety and its power, and won numerous accolades, including the PEN/Hemingway Award and recognition as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a USA Today Top 10 Book of the Year.
Read “A Mistake,” excerpted from Family Life, in The New Yorker.
Renato Rosaldo, a Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Anthropology in Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU, is one of the world’s leading anthropologists. He has done field research among the Ilongots of northern Luzon, Philippines, and he is the author of Ilongot Headhunting: 1883-1974: A Study in Society and History (1980). He is also the author of Culture and Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis (1989). He is also a poet.
Catherine Barnett is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and a Pushcart. Her most recent book, The Game of Boxes, published by Graywolf Press in 2012, won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets for an outstanding second book. She is also the author of Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced. Barnett has taught at Barnard, the New School, and NYU, where she was honored with an Outstanding Service Award.
Co-sponsored by Asia Society.