Jill Ciment “Consent” Book Discussion [Updated June 16th]

Join Jill Ciment to discuss “Consent.”


6/26/2024 at 7:00 PM
601 South Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601

About the Author:

JILL CIMENT, the author, most recently, of the novel The Body in Question (a New York Times Notable Book), has been the recipient of numerous honors, among them a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Ciment, a professor emeritus at the University of Florida, was born in Montreal, Canada; she now lives in Gainesville and New York City.

About the Book:

From the acclaimed novelist (“A virtuoso”—Donna Seaman, Booklist), a deft, shocking memoir that asks whether we can judge past behavior by today’s moral codes, as the author reevaluates her decades-long marriage to the forty-seven-year-old man she met when she was seventeen, revisiting a singular passion in the 21st-century aftermath of #MeToo.

“Few writers can tackle the bedroom—or female libido . . . but Ciment is a master: in exquisitely spare prose, she nails it.” — The New York Times

In this unflinching account of the ardent love affair between the author and her painting teacher, which began in the 1970s, when she was a teenager and he was married with two children, Ciment not only reflects on how their love ignited (who leaned in first for that kiss?) but interrogates her 1996 memoir on the subject, Half a Life. She asks herself if she told the whole truth back then, and what truth looked like to her in the even longer-ago era of love-bead curtains when she fell in love, when no one asked who was served by the permissibility around a May-December romance. In the light of #metoo, with new understanding about the balance of power between an older man and an underage girl, Ciment re-explores the erotic wild ride and intellectual flowering that shaped an improbable but blissful marriage that lasted for forty-five years, until her husband’s death at ninety-three.

This riveting book about art, memory, and morality asks many questions along the way: Does a story’s ending excuse its beginning? Does a kiss in one moment mean something else entirely five decades later? Can a love that starts with such an asymmetrical balance of power ever right itself? Suffused with the wisdom that comes with time, Consent is an author’s brave recasting of her life’s settled narrative, and an urgent read for women of all ages.

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