Saturday, September 14 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: James Lasdun, Author of Afternoon of a Faun

The Stockbridge Library is pleased to welcome James Lasdun, author Afternoon of a Faun, to its Speaker Series at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2019.

Taut, stylish, and psychologically acute, Afternoon of a Faun dramatizes the search for truth as an accusation of sexual assault plunges a journalist into a series of deepening crises.

“The truth might be hard to bring to light, but that didn’t mean it didn’t exist, because it did exist: fixed in its moment, unalterable, and certainly not a matter of ‘belief.’ “

When an old flame accuses him of sexual assault in her memoir, expat English journalist Marco Rosedale is brought rapidly and inexorably to the brink of ruin. His reputation and livelihood at stake, Marco confides in a close friend, who finds himself caught between the obligations of friendship and an increasingly urgent desire to uncover the truth. This unnamed friend is drawn, magnetized, into the orbit of the woman at the center of the accusation—and finds his position as the safely detached narrator turning into something more dangerous. Soon, the question of his own complicity becomes impossible to avoid.

Set during the months leading up to Donald Trump’s election, with detours into the 1970s, this propulsive novel investigates the very meaning of truth at a time when it feels increasingly malleable. An atmospheric and unsettling drama from a novelist acclaimed as “the literary descendent of Dostoevsky and Patricia Highsmith” (Boston Globe), Afternoon of a Faun combines a sharply observed study of our shifting social mores with a meditation on what makes us believe, or disbelieve, the stories people tell about themselves.

Photo by Pia Davis

About the author: James Lasdun has written books of fiction, memoir, and poetry, as well as two screenplays, including Sunday, which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance.  Other awards include the UK National Short Story Prize, the TLS Poetry Prize, and nominations for the LA Times Book Award and the TS Eliot Poetry Prize.  His first novel The Horned Man was a New York Times Notable Book.  His second, Seven Lies, was long-listed for the Booker Man Prize.  The Fall Guy, published in 2017, was a Book of the Month Club Selection and a Guardian Best Book of 2017.  His short story ‘The Siege’ was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci for his film ‘Besieged’, and his last collection of stories, It’s Beginning to Hurt, was listed as a Book of the Year by the Atlantic Monthly, the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times.  He has written for the New Yorker and the London Review of Books, and is a regular reviewer for The GuardianAfternoon of a Faun is his fourth novel.  In a starred pre-publication review, Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Of the novels to come out of the #MeToo moment to date, none is more riveting, insightful, and unsettling.”

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