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August 31 @ 7:00 pm
The Skinny: An Evening with Jonathan Wells and Michael Zilkha
Books & Books presents
An Evening with
In conversation with Michael Zilkha
The Skinny: A Memoir
(Ze Books, $26)
Tuesday, August 31, 7 pm ET
The critically acclaimed poet and author of the collection Debris, Jonathan Wells gives us a thoughtful, candid, and powerful memoir about the universal exploration of adolescence and self-image, the frailty of masculinity, and all the places we seek comfort in a world trying to redefine us.
About the Book:
“Everyone had a clearer vision of my body than I did. It didn’t feel as if my body was really mine…” At age fourteen, Jonathan Wells weighs just sixty-seven pounds, triggering a scrutinizing persecution of his body that will follow him into adulthood.
Upstate New York in the 1970s: A boy in preparatory day school suffers a harrowing attack by a teacher offended by his failure to put on weight. For the first time in his young life, Jonathan Wells is forced to question his right to take up space in the world. Jonathan’s father, reading his weight as a clear and deeply concerning deficit of masculinity, creates a workout regimen meant to bulk him up. When that doesn’t help, he has Jonathan seen by a slew of specialists, all claiming he is in perfect health, and yet the problem cannot be denied: the boy is simply too skinny.
Jonathan’s complicated relationship with his charming but elusive mother does not help matters. As the eldest son, he is privy to the struggles of a fraying marriage in which he, unwittingly, plays a divisive role. As a result, Jonathan is sent to boarding school in Switzerland, where he manages to establish an identity of his own among the child exiles and outcasts that make up the student body. And yet, his father’s obsession follows him to Europe, threatening to destroy the space he has painstakingly won for himself.
The critically acclaimed poet and author of the collection Debris, Jonathan Wells gives us a candid, powerful, and quietly humorous memoir about the universal exploration of adolescence and self-image, the frailty of masculinity, and all the places we seek comfort in a world that tries to define us. all claiming he is in perfect health, and yet the problem cannot be denied: he is simply too skinny.
About the Author:
Jonathan Wells has published three collections with Four Way Books, Debris, Train Dance, and The Man With Many Pens. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, AGNI and The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day program and many other journals. His memoir, The Skinny, is forthcoming from Ze Books.
About the Moderator:
Michael Zilkha started Ze Books in 2019. Prior to that he was involved in natural gas exploration and then renewable energy in Houston, Texas where he has lived since 1986. From 1978 to 1984 he ran Ze Records in New York City. Michael had several jobs in magazine publishing when he first moved to New York after university in 1975 and spent two years from 1984 to 1986 as an editor at Atlantic Monthly Press under Harold Evans.