Books by Sarah Ruhl, David Jarmul, and Andrew Altschul
Photo: Erik Gould
The Arts

Fresh Ink
Books by Sarah Ruhl ’97 ’01 MFA, David Jarmul ’75, and Andrew Altschul ’91

By Edward Hardy / June–August 2020
June 5th, 2020

44 Poems For You by Sarah Ruhl ’97 ’01 MFA (Copper Canyon)

Before she became a Tony-nominated playwright and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Sarah Ruhl was a poet. And in this moving, witty debut you’ll find intimate meditations on slowness, marriage, loss and longing, miscarriage, and childhood. They span the time before and after Ruhl became a mother and many were first written for an audience of one, a spouse or a friend, which is how they all came to involve a “you.”

Not Exactly Retired: A Life-Changing Journey on the Road and in the Peace Corps by David Jarmul ’75 (Peace Corps Writers)

Jarmul first served in the Peace Corps in the late 1970s and was stationed in Nepal, where he met his wife, Champa. As he reached his sixties, Jarmul and his wife both felt a longing to serve again, even if they weren’t sure they could leave their careers and comfortable lives to make the leap. What follows is the story of how they crept up on the idea—first with an 11,000-mile, 31-state cross-country trip, then a two-month return to Nepal, and finally a Peace Corps posting in Moldova in Eastern Europe. The result is part love story, part adventure saga, and a guide to finding a fresh act later in life.

The Gringa by Andrew Altschul ’91 (Melville House)

In his ambitious third novel Altschul (Lady Lazarus, Deus Ex Machina) uses the real-life story of Lori Berenson, an American who spent years in a Peruvian prison after falling in with a revolutionary group, as the template for a rich and sprawling narrative. Here Berenson becomes Lenora Gelb, a Stanford grad and activist who arrives in Lima in the 1990s and becomes involved with the revolutionary Cuarta Filosofia. Years later Andres, the novel’s narrator, is assigned to write a profile of Gelb and tries to answer the question of whether or not she really was a terrorist. It becomes a murky pursuit as Andres faces personal turmoil and his project veers into the weeds between fact and fiction.

Alumni Nonfiction

The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism by Susan Berfield ’86 (Bloomsbury)

A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes by Eric Dolin ’83 (Liveright)

Embracing Auschwitz: Forging a Vibrant, Life-Affirming Judaism that Takes the Holocaust Seriously by Joshua Hammerman ’78 (Ben Yehuda Press)

Bach Then: A Look at Rhode Island, Maine, and Other Places, Back in Those Simplier Times, the Folks Who Were There and How We All Lived by Bill Hinckley ’55 (Inkwater Press)

Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth: The President’s Falsehoods, Misleading Claims, and Flat-Out Lies by Glenn Kessler ’81 (Simon & Schuster)

Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy by Daniel G. Newman ’91 (MacMillan)

VERITAS: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife by Ariel Sabar ’93 (Random House)

Alumni Fiction

Mr. Wizard by Jeff Wallach ’84 AM (Open Books)


Girl Intrepid-A New York Story of Privilege and Perseverance by Leslie Armstrong ’62 (Epigraph Books)

Children’s Books

Papa, Daddy, & Riley by Seamus Kirst ’13 (Magination Press)

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Related Issue
June–August 2020