Ben Lerner and "The Topeka School"

Ben Lerner will talk about his latest book, The Topeka School. The Raven Book Store will have copies of his work for sale, and a signing will follow his talk.

Set in Topeka in the 1990s, far from the cities through which Lerner’s previous two protagonists have wandered, The Topeka School tells the story of Adam Gordon, a high school senior “whose hair is drawn into a ponytail while the sides of his head are shaved, a disastrous tonsorial compromise between the lefty household of his parents and the red state in which he was raised.” This novel is the history of that “lefty household,” told in his psychologist parents’ voices; it is also a disturbing, if often very funny, exploration of the forces that have led us to Trump. Unlike Adam’s horrible haircut, The Topeka School is utterly uncompromising: it confronts topics ranging from sexual abuse to racial appropriation to the bankruptcy of what passes for our political discourse. It does so with a courage and a clarity that ultimately leave one full of hope.

Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations, and is the author of the internationally acclaimed novels Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, and an essay, The Hatred of Poetry. His poetry collections include The Lichtenberg FiguresAngle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.


Event date: 
Saturday, October 5, 2019 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
Lawrence Public Library
707 Vermont Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
The Topeka School: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374277789
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 2019

From the award-winning author of 10:04 and Leaving the Atocha Station, a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right