Book Talk. Divide Me by Zero by Lara Vapnyar

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
6:00pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join us for a talk with Lara Vapnyar, author of Divide Me by Zero (Tin House, October 2019), moderated by writer Sana Krasikov.

As a young girl, Katya Geller learned from her mother that math was the answer to everything. Now, approaching forty, she finds this wisdom tested: she has lost the love of her life, she is in the middle of a divorce, and has just found out that her mother is dying. Half-mad with grief, Katya turns to the unfinished notes for her mother’s last textbook, hoping to find guidance in mathematical concepts.

With humor, intelligence, and unfailing honesty, Katya traces back her life’s journey: her childhood in Soviet Russia, her parents’ great love, the death of her father, her mother’s career as a renowned mathematician, and their immigration to the United States. She is, by turns, an adrift newlywed, an ESL teacher in an office occupied by witches and mediums, a restless wife, an accomplished writer, a flailing mother of two, a grieving daughter, and, all the while, a woman in love haunted by a question: how to parse the wild, unfathomable passion she feels through the cool logic of mathematics?

Award-winning author Lara Vapnyar delivers an unabashedly frank and darkly comic tale of coming-of-age in middle age. Divide Me by Zero is almost unclassifiable―a stylistically original, genre-defying mix of classic Russian novel, American self-help book, Soviet math textbook, sly writing manual, and, at its center, an intense romance that captures the most common misfortune of all: falling in love.

Lara Vapnyar came to the US from Russia in 1994. She is a recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship, and Goldberg Prize for Jewish fiction. She is the author of There Are Jews in My HouseMemoirs of a Muse, Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and LoveThe Scent of Pine, and Still Here. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, and Vogue.

 

 

Sana Krasikov is the author of the novel The Patriots and the collection One More Year. She's been a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The National Book Foundation named her as one of its 5 Under 35 in 2008. For The Patriots she was selected as one of 2017's Best Young American Novelists by Granta, Krasikov’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Virginia Quarterly