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Conversation: Suzannah Lessard, The Absent Hand: Reimagining Our American Landscape, with Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 6:30 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required

Following her bestselling The Architect of Desire, Suzannah Lessard returns with a remarkable book, a work of relentless curiosity and a graceful mixture of observation and philosophy. This intriguing hybrid will remind some of W. G. Sebald’s work and others of Rebecca Solnit’s, but it is Lessard’s singular talent to combine this profound book-length mosaic―a blend of historical travelogue, reportorial probing, philosophical meditation, and prose poem―into a work of unique genius, as she describes and reimagines our landscapes. In this exploration of our surroundings, The Absent Hand contends that to reimagine landscape is a form of cultural reinvention.

This engrossing work of literary nonfiction is a deep dive into our surroundings―cities, countryside, and sprawl―exploring change in the meaning of place and reimagining the world in a time of transition. Whether it be climate change altering the meaning of nature, or digital communications altering the nature of work, the effects of global enclosure on the meaning of place are panoramic, infiltrative, inescapable. No one will finish this book, this journey, without having their ideas of living and settling in their surroundings profoundly enriched.

Doors open at 6:00 PM. Light refreshments will be served.

Suzannah Lessard is the bestselling author of The Architect of Desire, a New York Times Notable Book. A founding editor of the Washington Monthly and a New Yorker staff writer for twenty years, she is a recipient of the Whiting and Lukas Awards and has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and George Washington University.

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers is the president of the Foundation for Landscape Studies and the author of ten books, most recently Saving Central Park and Green Metropolis. She has long been involved in historic landscape preservation and was the first person to hold the title of Central Park Administrator, a position created in 1979. In 1980, she was instrumental in founding the Central Park Conservancy, a public-private partnership supporting the restoration and management of the park.


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