Joanna Clapps Herman reads from No Longer and Not Yet

Thursday, October 2

Most of these stories take place on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, in the shops, hallways, and parks that reveal this well-known neighborhood as the tiny, even backwater, village it often resembles. An Upper West Sider herself, Joanna Clapps Herman draws her characters honestly yet tenderly, revealing them as much through how they move as by what they do, as though their bodies speak the truths they can’t express. Here Hannah Arendt’s ghost haunts the building where she once lived, a hawk carries the apparition of a lost loved one, a homeless woman becomes Demeter. Small moments and intimacies of life weave together to form a bigger picture: the squeak of the hotel bed, the quality of light in the therapist’s office, the doorman’s familiar jokes. These stories show that, although we may think of ourselves in larger mythic narratives, our days are set in terrain that is the opposite of the vast.