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Poster for Harvard Book Store presents Adrienne Brodeur

Harvard Book Store presents Adrienne Brodeur

Coming on July 12

Run Time: 90 min.

Harvard Book Store Presents:

Adrienne Brodeur


Little Monsters:
A Novel

in conversation with J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN

Harvard Book Store welcomes ADRIENNE BRODEUR—author, founder of the literary magazine Zoetrope: All-Story, and executive director of the nonprofit Aspen Words—for a discussion of her new novel Little Monsters. She will be joined in conversation by New York Times best-selling author, J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN.

Update on Event Masking Policies

Masks are not required for this event. As of June 1, 2023, masks are encouraged but not required for most Harvard Book Store events, unless otherwise specified. Please review individual listings.


There are two ticket options available for this event.

Book-Included Ticket: Includes admission for one and one hardcover copy of Little Monsters pre-signed by the author.

Admission-Only Ticket: Includes admission for one.

About Little Monsters

Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small and they have been haunted by her absence ever since. Their father, Adam, a brilliant oceanographer, raised them mostly on his own in his remote home on Cape Cod, where the attachment between Ken and Abby deepened into something complicated—and as adults their relationship is strained. Now, years later, the siblings’ lives are still deeply entwined. Ken is a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works.

As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his seventieth birthday, staring down his mortality and fading relevance. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he’s determined to make one last scientific breakthrough and so he has secretly stopped taking his pills, which he knows will infuriate his children. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family—Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known. As Adam grows more attuned to the frequencies of the deep sea and less so to the people around him, Ken and Abby each plan the elaborate gifts they will present to their father on his birthday, jostling for primacy in this small family unit.

Set in the fraught summer of 2016, and drawing on the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, Little Monsters is an absorbing, sharply observed family story by a writer who knows Cape Cod inside and out—its Edenic lushness and its snakes.

Praise for Little Monsters

“I so admire the layered complexity of this beautiful novel about a flawed yet unforgettable family—the interlocking ironies and wounds and strivings for love and clarity and accomplishment and growth, all so deeply embedded in the lush natural world that is the Cape. Every character in this mesmerizing story is distinct and real, and I found myself rooting for them all.” —Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of House of Sand and Fog

Little Monsters is an elegant and ambitious novel, a family saga deeply rooted in the landscape of Cape Cod. Adrienne Brodeur writes about complicated, sometimes difficult people and the natural world they inhabit with lyrical precision and deep emotional intelligence.” —Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Tracy Flick Can’t Win and Mrs. Fletcher

“Beautiful, lyrical and unvarnished, Adrienne Brodeur’s Little Monsters delivers its powerful emotional punches so subtly that they sneak up on you and leave you floored.” —Miranda Cowley Heller, New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace

Adrienne Brodeur

Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the memoir Wild Game, which was selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and The Washington Post and is in development as a Netflix film. She founded the literary magazine Zoetrope: All-Story with Francis Ford Coppola, and currently serves as executive director of Aspen Words, a literary nonprofit and program of the Aspen Institute. She splits her time between Cambridge and Cape Cod, where she lives with her husband and children.

Photo credit: Tony Luong


J. Courtney Sullivan

J. Courtney Sullivan is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels Commencement, Maine, The Engagements, and Saints For All Occasions. Her work has been translated into 17 languages. Sullivan’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and O: The Oprah Magazine, among many others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two children.

Photo credit: Michael Lionstar
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