Identity, Transformation, and Freedom

French author Lola Lafon and American novelist Christopher Sorrentino both share a fascination for the 1970s, the figure of Patty Hearst–who is at the heart of their novels Mercy Mary Patty (Actes Sud, 2017) and Trances (Simon and Schuster, 2005)–and the collective secret desire to shed one’s skin and start life over again. Their bodies of work explore the meaning of identity, and the role that storytelling plays in our understanding of both ourselves and each other.

On April 19, join Lafon and Sorrentino as they discuss Identity, Transformation, and Freedom based on their respective novels : Lafon’s The Little Communist Who Never Smiled (2016) and Mercy Mary Patty (2017), and Sorrentino’s Trance (2005), and The Fugitives (2017).

Credit image: Nathaniel Phillips.

Lola Lafon is a bestselling Paris-based novelist and musician. The author of three previous novels, Lafon was born in France and grew up in Sofia and Bucharest. The original French edition of The Little Communist Who Never Smiled won ten prizes. She lives in Paris.
Christopher Sorrentino is the author of five books, including Trance, a National Book Award Finalist for fiction, and The Fugitives ​(2016). His work has appeared in A Public Space, The Baffler, BOMB, BookForum, Conjunctions, Esquire, Fence, Granta, Harper’s, The Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, Open City, The Paris Review, Playboy, Tin House, and many other publications. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and he was Writer-in-Residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2011. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, the New School, Fairleigh Dickinson, and at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, where he is a core faculty member.