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Members' Room: Priscilla Gilman, The Critic's Daughter: A Memoir

Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required

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An exquisitely rendered portrait of a unique father-daughter relationship and a moving memoir of family and identity.

Growing up on the Upper West Side of New York City in the 1970s, in an apartment filled with dazzling literary and artistic characters, Priscilla Gilman worshiped her brilliant, adoring, and mercurial father, the writer, theater critic, and Yale School of Drama professor Richard Gilman. But when Priscilla was ten years old, her mother, renowned literary agent Lynn Nesbit, abruptly announced that she was ending the marriage. The resulting cascade of disturbing revelations―about her parents’ hollow marriage, her father’s double life and tortured sexual identity―fundamentally changed Priscilla’s perception of her father, as she attempted to protect him from the depression that had long shadowed him.

A wrenching story about what it means to be the daughter of a demanding parent, a revelatory window into the impact of divorce, and a searching reflection on the nature of art and criticism, The Critic’s Daughter is an unflinching account of loss and grief―and a radiant testament of forgiveness and love.

Priscilla Gilman is the author of the memoir The Anti-Romantic Child and a former professor of English literature at Yale University and Vassar College. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere.


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