The shocking transformation of power from Obama to Trump shakes many of us to our core. It is a time, as Elizabeth Warren says, to “Volunteer, and stay connected.”
It is also a time to use art and literature to get perspective, and offer hope. That is the goal of me and my family’s appearance at the Soho next Monday Nov 14.
I would humbly suggest that my novel At the Heart of the Universe does give hope. One reader said that “This is Heart of Darkness with a happy ending.” I admire Conrad’s novella as much as any other work of literature. I appreciate that.
It is a novel of four people: Xiao Lu the Chinese birth mother, and Pep and Clio American birth adoptive mother and father, and Katie Chun, the adopted daughter.
The journey these four are entwined in, over ten years and from Columbia, New York to the wilderness of the sacred Mount Emei where they meet—is harsh, everyone living on edge, fraught with adventure and risk and danger—BUT the suffering with each other is the thing that heals them at the end. It is a profound story of hope that we need to hold on to, tightly, in these perilous times for the world.
The last line—without giving anything away—is this:
“And if you could ask each of them what they are feeling at just that moment, each might say in their own way that they are feeling part of something else, part of something at the heart of the universe, a universal law of love.”
I am a doctor, and a writer, and all is infused with a sense of the centrality of spirit, and relationship—and that’s why I write this ending filled with hope.
That’s why Janet and Katie and I will be onstage at the Soho Playhouse Monday at 7—I reading from the novel a bit, and then all of us talking together in dialogue, and we hope you can join us.
And please join us @ the book launch for At the Heart of the Universe:
Best-selling author Samuel Shem discusses his latest novel, At The Heart of the Universe (Seven Stories Press), from 7 to 8:45 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the SoHo Playhouse, New York City. Joining Shem for this deeply personal evening of story-telling and dialogue with the audience will be his wife, the author Janet Surrey, and their daughter, Katie Surrey Bergman–and moderator Adam Pertman (Adoption Nation).