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Andrea Bajani and Jhumpa Lahiri Writers discuss Bajani’s novel, If You Kept a Record of Sins

April 1, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

Andrea Bajani is joined in conversation by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jhumpa Lahiri to celebrate the publication of his novel, If You Kept a Record of Sins (translated by Elizabeth Harris for Archipelago Books).

“One of Italy’s greatest writers . . . An elegy, a requiem, a reckoning, a broken portrait of an absent mother, If You Kept a Record of Sins is a jewel of a book. You will hold it to your heart when you are done.” — Andrew Sean Greer, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Less

This event will be streamed on our Crowdcast channel.


About If You Kept a Record of Sins

A prismatic novel that records the indelible marks a mother leaves on her son after she abandons their home in Italy for a business she’s building in Romania. Lorenzo, just a young boy when his mother leaves, recalls the incisive fragments of their life – when they would playfully wrestle each other, watch the sunrise, or test out his mother’s newest scientific creation. Now a young man, Lorenzo travels to Romania for his mother’s funeral and reflects on the strangeness of today’s Europe, which masks itself as a beacon of Western civilization while iniquity and exploitation run rampant. With elliptical, piercing prose, Bajani tells a story of abandonment and initiation, of sentimental education and shattered illusions, of unconditional love.

About the participants

ANDREA BAJANI is an Italian novelist, journalist, and poet whose work has been translated into many languages. His novel, Ogni promessa (Every Promise), won the oldest and most prestigious Italian literary award, the Bagutta Prize. His collection of short stories, La vita non è in ordine alfabetico, won the Settembrini Prize in 2014. Se consideri le colpe (If You Kept a Record of Sins) won the Super Mondello Prize, the Brancati Prize, the Recanati Prize, and the Lo Straniero Prize. He teaches at Rice University in the Department of Classical and European studies.

JHUMPA LAHIRI is the author of four works of fiction: Interpreter of MaladiesThe NamesakeUnaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland; and a work of nonfiction, In Other Words. She has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize; the PEN/Hemingway Award; the PEN/Malamud Award; the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award; the Premio Gregor von Rezzori; the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature; a 2014 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama; and the Premio Internazionale Viareggio-Versilia, for In altre parole.

About the translator

Elizabeth Harris’s translations from Italian include Mario Rigoni Stern’s Giacomo’s Seasons, Giulio Mozzi’s This Is the Garden, and Antonio Tabucchi’s Tristano Dies, For Isabel: A Mandala, and Stories with Pictures. Her prizes include a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, an NEA Translation Fellowship, The Italian Prose in Translation Award, and the National Translation Award for Prose.


April 1, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
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Pt. Reyes Books
(415) 663-1542
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