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"Wonder Travels" with Writer-In-Residence Josh Barkan

"Wonder Travels" with Writer-In-Residence Josh Barkan In-Person

Join us for a conversation with Josh Barkan, Writer-In-Residence at the Hemingway House, who will share selections from his forthcoming memoir Wonder Travels (Roundabout Press, September 2023). He'll be joined by Martha Williams, the Library's director of programs and education, for a conversation about his new memoir and the craft of writing. A book signing with Iconoclast Books will follow.

Can we ever really know another person? When, after fifteen years of marriage, his wife has an affair with a man she meets on the beach in Morocco, writer Josh Barkan grapples with this question. In this fearless, breathtakingly candid memoir, he maps a painful odyssey from New York to El Paso to the Apache Kid Wilderness to Mexico City, where he falls in love with a painter who begins to heal him. But two years after his wife’s affair, questions still haunt him. Why did she betray him, and with whom? With no more than a cell phone number, Barkan travels to Morocco to find his wife's lover and confront his own past.

This event will be livestreamed and available to watch later. Click here to watch online. A book signing with Iconoclast Books will follow.

Josh Barkan won the Lightship International Short Story Prize and was runner-up for the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, the Paterson Fiction Prize, and the Juniper Prize for Fiction. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his writing has appeared in Esquire. He has taught creative writing at Harvard, NYU, the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Hollins University and MIT. His books include the novel Blind Speed and short story collections Before Hiroshima and Mexico (Hogarth/Penguin Random House)—named one of the five best story collections of 2017 by Library Journal. He lives in Boston. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Time Zone:
Mountain Time - US & Canada (change)
John A. and Carole O. Moran Lecture Hall
The Community Library
  Lectures & Conversations  
Registration has closed.

What others are saying about Wonder Travels:

“In this compulsively readable memoir, Josh Barkan does something remarkable: he combines the edifying power of the travelogue with the emotional truth-seeking promise of the memoir, taking us through the streets of New York to the wilds of Mexico, through Madrid and Marrakesh and the mountains of Morocco, through the piazzas of Rome then back to Mexico, all from the point of view of a man trying to stitch back together his shattered heart. Wonder Travels is a profound meditation on the inherent fragility of marriage, on what it means to love well and to be loved in return, on the elusiveness of forgiveness, but ultimately on spiritual resilience and wandering’s potential ability to truly heal. This is a brave, thought-provoking, and moving memoir, and I recommend it highly.” —Andre Dubus III, author of Townie: A Memoir

“In Wonder Travels, Josh Barkan writes about the dissolution of his marriage with an honesty that is illuminating and sometimes uncomfortable. This is an unflinching and highly readable memoir about one man’s slow recovery from heartbreak.”—Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children

“Josh Barkan has written a searingly honest investigation of the end of his own marriage—a relentless quest to understand love, betrayal and the power of humiliation over the human soul. It is a painful journey, but the reader cannot turn away from Barkan’s masterfully written mystery story.”—Kai Bird winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography

“Barkan takes us on a brave tour through marriage and divorce and the Western Hemisphere. It's a sort of Anna Karenina written from Karenin's point of view, with amazing frankness. And at the same time, while looking for the trails of infidelity, we travel to Morocco, Spain, Paris, Rome, soul-searching. After all the upheavals, Barkan reaches a state of ataraxia, and manages to look into the past to see not only the pain and suffering but the beauty and adventure. This memoir/roman a clef, is a veritable page turner, with absolute narrative freedom. Barkan is a master tour guide of the human soul.”—Josip Novakovich, finalist for The Man Booker International Prize and winner of the American Book Award

Event Organizer

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Martha Williams