Third Place Books is thrilled to welcome Lisa Ko for a discussion of her new novel, Memory Piece, about three teenagers in the early 1980s drawn together by their shared sense of alienation and desire for something different. Ko will be joined in conversation by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of Touching the Art and The Freezer Door, amongst others. This event is free and open to the public.
Please note: per request of the authors, masks will be required to attend.
For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!
for this in-person event
In the early 1980s, Giselle Chin, Jackie Ong, and Ellen Ng are three teenagers drawn together by their shared sense of alienation and desire for something different. “Allied in the weirdest parts of themselves,” they envision each other as artistic collaborators and embark on a future defined by freedom and creativity.
By the time they are adults, their dreams are murkier. As a performance artist, Giselle must navigate an elite social world she never conceived of. As a coder thrilled by the internet’s early egalitarian promise, Jackie must contend with its more sinister shift toward monetization and surveillance. And as a community activist, Ellen confronts the increasing gentrification and policing overwhelming her New York City neighborhood. Over time their friendship matures and changes, their definitions of success become complicated, and their sense of what matters evolves.
Moving from the predigital 1980s to the art and tech subcultures of the 1990s to a strikingly imagined portrait of the 2040s, Memory Piece is an innovative and audacious story of three lifelong friends as they strive to build satisfying lives in a world that turns out to be radically different from the one they were promised.
“Ko spans past, present, and future with the astute story of three Asian American women from the New York City tristate area over the course of their lives…A worthy follow-up to Ko’s striking debut.”
“Remarkable . . . vividly captures the urgency of youth, and becomes a heartbreaking elegy for a communal, almost utopian approach to urban life.”
—Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind
“Dazzlingly inventive and knowing, Memory Piece is a bold and affecting novel about resistance, solidarity, and friendship.”
—Dana Spiotta, author of Eat the Document
“A group portrait of three women who wrest meaning from a world that is closing down around them, Memory Piece is bright with defiance, intelligence, and stubborn love. To spend time with these characters is a gift.”
—C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills is Gold
Lisa Ko is the author of the novel Memory Piece and of The Leavers, which was a 2017 National Book Award for Fiction finalist, won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/Hemingway Award. The Leavers was a national bestseller and was named a best book of the year by NPR, Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times, and others. Ko’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The New York Times, The Believer, and elsewhere. (Photo credit: Juliana Sohn)
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author, most recently, of The Freezer Door, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, one of Oprah Magazine’s Best LGBTQ Books of 2020, and a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Her latest anthology, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis, was named one of the “100 Most Influential Queer Books of All Time” by Bookriot. Touching the Art was published by Soft Skull in November 2023. Sycamore lives in Seattle. (Photo credit: Dorothy Edwards)
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