Andrew Solomon discusses "Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity"
12/04/2012 7:00 pm
The author of The Noonday Demon returns with a “remarkable new book” (Bill Clinton) about parents and children.
Solomon has written a brave and ambitious work, bringing together
science, culture, and a powerful empathy.”--Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point
is one of the most extraordinary books I have read in recent
times--brave, compassionate and astonishingly humane.”--Siddhartha
Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies
This event will be held in the Hill Ballroom, on the campus of Macalester College, across the street from Common Good Books.
a gay child of straight parents, Andrew Solomon was born with a
condition that was considered an illness, but it became a cornerstone of
his identity. While reporting on the explosion of Deaf pride in the
1990s, he began to consider illness and identity as a continuum with
shifting boundaries. Spurred by the disability-rights movement and
empowered by the Internet, communities with such “horizontal identities”
are challenging expectations and norms.
In twelve astonishingly acute and empathetic chapters, Far from the Tree tells
stories of individuals who have been heartbreakingly tragic victims of
intense prejudice, but also stories of parents who have embraced their
childrens' differences and tried to alter the world's understanding of
their conditions. Their stories begin in families coping with extreme
difference: dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, multiple severe
disabilities, or prodigious genius; children conceived in rape, or who
identify as transgender; children who develop schizophrenia or commit
serious crimes. The adage asserts that the apple doesn’t fall far from
the tree, but in Solomon’s explorations, some apples fall on the other
side of the world.
ten years, interviewing more than 250 families, Solomon has observed
not just how some families learn to deal with exceptional children, but
also how they find profound meaning in doing so. An utterly original
thinker, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people who have somehow
summoned hope and courage in the face of heartbreaking prejudice and
almost unimaginable difficulty.
Andrew Solomon’s earlier book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, has won fourteen national awards, including the 2001 National Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The NY Times review
described it as “All-encompassing, brave, deeply humane...a book of
remarkable depth, breadth and vitality...open-minded, critically
informed and poetic all at the same time...fearless, and full of
compassion.” Mr. Solomon has lectured on depression around the world,
including recent stints at Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Harvard, MIT,
Cambridge, and the Library of Congress.