Author/professor makes confessions at Left Bank

Jun 13, 2019
Briallen Hopper

BELFAST — Left Bank Books, 109 Church St., invites the public to join them on Thursday, June 27, at 7 p.m. for a talk by author and Queens College English professor Briallen Hopper to celebrate the recent release of “Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions,” a collection of essays on love and friendship. Each essay draws from Hopper’s personal experience and manages to be both funny and wise, peppered with references to highbrow and lowbrow culture. Her insights into the work of Joan Didion and Flannery O’Connor sit next to commentary on Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

“Hard to Love” is about self-reliance, unbreakable female friendships, being single, dealing with difficult roommates, our relationship to our siblings as adults, tricky relationships with parents, and even Hopper’s quest to become a mother via sperm donor (it’s Moby-Dick as you’ve never seen it). Hopper values each of these complicated and underappreciated relationships, and reminds us that we can all be surrounded by love, even if we’re romantically unattached.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hopper explained that, “in many ways the ‘single versus partnered’ divide has come to seem less and less important as a way of thinking about love and connection. Obviously it matters for huge things like taxes, health care, immigration, custody. But when I think about my life, and my friends’ lives, more and more of these questions — [about] how to seek and find emotional and material support, how to move from youth to midlife, how to make meaning and keep going — are common, regardless of relationship status. All of us… are having to do the work of figuring out how to find and sustain love and connection beyond the marriage plot.”

Praise for Hard to Love has been widespread:

“Smart and studied reflections on the power of friendship… While families are bound by blood and couples often by the law of marriage, the bonds of friendship expand and contract over time. Hopper fervently embraces this and the rich intimacies it affords.” – Booklist

“Hopper’s essays seem like love songs… delicate, thoughtful elegies to friendship, compassion, and grace. A fresh, well-crafted collection.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A smart group of essays on contemporary relationships. A literature scholar, Hopper cultivates a voice that is sophisticated and analytical, but also earnest and eager, and her strongest essays balance these qualities.” – Publishers Weekly

At Queens College, Hopper teaches creative nonfiction, journalism, popular culture, religion and American literature. She holds a PhD in American literature from Princeton, and attended divinity school and taught writing at Yale. Her writing has appeared in HuffPost, Longreads, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Newsweek, New York Magazine, the Paris Review and The Washington Post, among many other print and online publications.

Reservations for the free talk and signing are encouraged. Please email leftbank@myfairpoint.net or call 338-9009. Left Bank Books, which is celebrating its 15th birthday this August, is located in the historic opera house building. Ample parking is available on the street and in an adjacent public parking lot.

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