Virtual Event: Jesse Ball with Max Porter — Autoportrait

"Jesse Ball revives a subgenre of memoir mastered only by Édouard Levé—plain sentences, unchronological, written without hand-wringing." —Spencer Ruchti, Author Events Manager


Third Place Books, Community Bookstore (Brooklyn), Powell's Books (Portland), and Seminary Co-Op (Chicago) are thrilled to welcome Jesse Ball—author of The Divers' Game and Census—for a discussion of his highly-anticipated work of memoir, Autoportrait, a mesmerizing homage to Édouard Levé's work of the same title. Ball will be joined in conversation by writer Max Porter, author of Lanny and Grief Is the Thing With Feathers.

This event will be broadcast live on Community Bookstore's Zoom Webinar platform. Registering will provide you with a unique access link in an email. During the event, you can ask questions using the Q&A feature, or chat with fellow attendees. A recording of the event will be made available and emailed to all who register.

This author talk is free! You can sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book.

 

Register now

for this virtual event

Sign up here!
 

About Autoportrait. . .

A work of unflinching honesty, Autoportrait is a hypnotic memoir of reflection, loss, and everyday joy from one of America's best contemporary novelists

Jesse Ball has produced fourteen acclaimed works of deeply empathetic absurdism in poetry and fiction. Now, he offers readers his first memoir, one that showcases his “humane curiosity” (James Wood) and invites the reader into a raw and personal account of love, grief, and memory. Inspired by the memoir Édouard Levé put to paper shortly before his death, Autoportrait is an extraordinarily frank and intimate work from one of America's most brilliant young authors.

The subtle power of Ball's voice conjures the richness of everyday life. On each page, half-remembered moments are woven together with the joys and triumphs—and the mistakes and humiliations, too—that somehow tell us who we are, why we are here. Held at the same height as tragic accounts of illness or death are moments of startling beauty, banality, or humor: "I wake in the morning, I sit, I walk long distances. If there is somewhere to swim, I may swim. If I have a bicycle, I will ride it, especially to meet someone. There is no more preparing for me to do, other than preparing for death, and I do that by laughing. Not laughing at death, of course. Laughing at myself." 

An extraordinary memoir that reminds us what is possible and builds to the kind of power one might feel reading Anne Carson's Glass Essay, or Joe Brainard's I Remember. Autoportrait will leave you feeling utterly invigorated, inspired, and a little afraid.

 

Praise for Autoportrait. . .

"Jesse Ball’s Autoportrait, you might say, is all voice . . . Evocative and bright."
—Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

"Ball invites readers into a meditative engagement with the text and suggests that perhaps the best way to understand a person is to sift through their mental clutter. Koan-like moments hum throughout . . . A hypnotic personal reflection penned with clockwork discipline."
Kirkus Reviews

"Slender and innovative . . . A rich self-portrait that evokes wonder at odd passions (cooking with strangely named spices, drawings of dead babies) and delightfully idiosyncratic opinions."
Publishers Weekly


Jesse Ball was born in New York. He is the author of sixteen books, and his works have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has won the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for Fiction and was long-listed for the National Book Award. He was named one of Granta’s Best of Young Novelists, and has been a fellow of the NEA, Creative Capital, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Max Porter is the author of three novels. His fourth, Shy, will be published by Graywolf Press in Spring 2023. His work been translated into more than thirty languages and he frequently collaborates with artists, film-makers and musicians. He lives in Bath, England. 


Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from this event.