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July 27, 2021 @ 7:00 pm

22 Minutes of Unconditional Love: An Evening with Daphne Merkin and Mark Greif


July 27, 2021
7:00 pm



Books & Books and Miami Book Fair present…

An Evening with Daphne Merkin

In conversation Mark Greif

22 Minutes of Unconditional Love: A Novel

(Picador, $17)

Tuesday, July 27, 7 PM ET

LIVE via Crowdcast




A harrowing, compulsively readable novel about breaking free of sexual obsession

A novel of unsurpassed candor, punctuated by bold ruminations on love, marriage, family, sex, gender, and relationships, 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love depicts one woman’s psychological descent into sexual captivity. This is the story of the extremes to which she will go to achieve erotic bliss—and of her struggle to regain her soul.

As Daphne Merkin’s audacious new novel opens, a wife and mother looks back at the moment when her life as a young book editor is upended by a casual encounter with an intriguing man who seems to intuit her every thought.

Convinced she’s found the one, Judith Stone succumbs to the push and pull of her sexual entanglement with Howard Rose, constantly seeking his attention and approval. That is, until she realizes that beneath his erotic obsession with her, Howard is intent on obliterating any sense of self she possesses. As Merkin writes, his was “the allure of remoteness, affection edged in ice.” Escaping Howard’s grasp—and her own perverse enjoyment of being under his control—will test the limits of Judith’s capacity to resist the siren call of submission.

Narrated by Judith in a time before the #MeToo movement, 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love charts the persistent hold the past has on us and the way it shapes our present.



About the Author:

Daphne Merkin  is the author of five books: two novels, 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020 and Picador, 2021) and Enchantment (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for the best new work of fiction based on a Jewish theme; it was reprinted by Picador in July 2020 with a foreword by Vivian Gornick. Her memoir, This  Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018) received a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review. She has also published two collections of essays: Dreaming of Hitler: Passions & Provocations (1997) and The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, The Brontes, and the Importance of Handbags, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2014.  As a former staff writer for The New Yorker, Merkin’s cultural criticism frequently appears in The New York Times Book Review & Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Bookforum, New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Departures, Elle, Travel + Leisure, Tablet, and many other publications. Merkin has taught writing at the 92nd Street Y, Marymount Manhattan College, Hunter College and Columbia University’s MFA program. She lives in New York City and gives private writing classes.  More information is available on https://www.daphne-merkin.com/


About the Moderator:

Mark Greif is co-founder of the literary and intellectual journal n+1, and an associate professor at Stanford University.  He looks at literature’s relation to the world: how new ideas are embraced or refused in fiction and nonfiction, and how arguments find their way into art.  Mark Greif is a scholar of American writing and thought, and a writer whose work has appeared in publications from the London Review of Books to the New York Times.