Martha Cooley presents "Buy Me Love," with Susan Merrell

June 10, 2021, 7:30 PM

Martha Cooley joins us to present her new novel, Buy Me Love, in conversation with Susan Merrell. This program will take place on Zoom. Register here:

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Described by Publishers Weekly as Cooley's sharp latest, Cooley has a sure hand in probing the intersection of artistic ambition and money. This hopeful take is sure to move readers.

In Brooklyn, New York, in 2005, Ellen Portinari buys a lottery ticket on a whim; not long after, she realizes she's won a hundred-million-dollar jackpot. With a month to redeem the ticket, she tells no one but her alcoholic brother--a talented composer whose girlfriend has died in a terrorist attack abroad--about her preposterous good luck.

As the clock ticks, Ellen caroms from incredulity to giddiness to dread as she tries to reckon with the potential consequences of her win. She becomes unexpectedly involved with a man and boy she's met at her local gym. While she grapples with the burden of secret-keeping and the tug of a new intimacy, a Brooklyn street artist named Blair Talpa is contending with her own challenges: a missing brother, an urge to make art that will "derange orbits," and a lack of money.

En route to redeem the lottery ticket, Ellen finds her prospects entwining by chance with Blair's--which allows Ellen to reimagine luck's relation to loss, and the reader to revel in surprise.

Martha Cooley is the author of three novels—The Archivist, a national bestseller published in a dozen foreign markets, Thirty-Three Swoons, and the just-released Buy Me Love—as well as a memoir, Guesswork: A Reckoning With Loss. She co-translated Time Ages in a Hurry, a short-story collection by Antonio Tabucchi. A 2017 O. Henry Prize winner, she has published essays, short fiction, and co-translations in A Public Space, AGNI, LitHub,The Common, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other leading journals. She is a Professor Emerita at Adelphi University and taught for fifteen years in the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives in the medieval Italian village of Castiglione del Terziere with her husband and about a dozen cats.

Susan Scarf Merrell is the author of Shirley: A Novel, now a major motion picture starring Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg. She is also the author of A Member of the Family, and The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships. She co-directs the Southampton Writers Conference, is program director (along with Meg Wolitzer) of the novel incubator program, BookEnds, and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature at Stony Brook Southampton. She served as fiction editor of The Southampton Review. Essays, book reviews and short fiction appear most recently in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Common Online, The Washington Post, and East Magazine. Photo credit: Robin Saidman.