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Andrew Solomon discusses "Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity"

The author of The Noonday Demon returns with a “remarkable new book” (Bill Clinton) about parents and children.

“Andrew 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

“This 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.

As 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.

For 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.

Visit for more information, videos, and stories from Andrew Solomon's new book..


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, 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.

Event date: 
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Hill Ballroom, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Ave
55105 Saint Paul
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743236713
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Scribner Book Company - November 13th, 2012