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Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures “Made Local” – Idra Novey
March 21 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
REGISTER HERE (In-Person Seating) or HERE (Virtual)
In her most powerful book yet, award-winning writer Idra Novey has conjured a novel of “astonishing and singular” honesty (Rumaan Alam) with two determined, unforgettable female voices.
Set in Western Pennsylvania near Johnstown where Idra Novey grew up and where her family has lived for more than a hundred years, Take What You Need traces the parallel lives of Jean, and her beloved but estranged stepdaughter, Leah, who’s sought a clean break from her rural childhood. In Leah’s urban life with her young family, she’s revealed little about Jean, how much she misses her stepmother’s hard-won insights and joyful lack of inhibition. But with Jean’s death, Leah must return to sort through what’s been left behind.
What Leah discovers is staggering: Jean has filled the house with giant sculptures she’s welded from scraps of the area’s industrial history. There’s also a young man now living in the house who’s played an unknown role in Jean’s last years and in her art.
With great verve and humor, Idra Novey zeroes in on the joys and difficulty of family, the ease with which we let distance mute conflict, and the power we can draw from creative pursuits.
Passionate and resonant, Take What You Need explores the continuing mystery of the people we love most, and what can be built from what others have discarded—art, unexpected friendship, a new contentment of self.
Idra Novey is the award-winning author of the novels Ways to Disappear and Those Who Knew. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages and she’s written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. She teaches at Princeton University and in the MFA Program at New York University.
“Take What You Need is a propulsive, profound, and electric portrait of small-town America’s decline. Jean, the main character, is complex, cantankerous and vulnerable; a character who will remain with you for weeks after you read the book. This is Novey’s most powerful novel yet.”
—Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings
This is a Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures event presented in partnership with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Registration may also be completed by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 412.522.8866.
Masks are encouraged to be worn by everyone for the duration of their visit.