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Read ME: Sarah Perry talks about After the Eclipse

Wednesday, August 28 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Location: Burbank Branch
Audience: Adults

Portland Public library is thrilled to welcome Maine author Sarah Perry to our Burbank Branch to talk about her 2017 memoir After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search. Join us for this community conversation on Wednesday, August 28th at 6:30pm. The discussion will be followed by audience Q&A and a book signing. Books will be sold at the event by our partner Print: A Bookstore.

About the book
A fierce memoir of a mother’s murder, a daughter’s coming-of-age in the wake of immense loss, and her mission to know the woman who gave her life.

When Sarah Perry was twelve, she saw a partial eclipse of the sun, an event she took as a sign of good fortune for her and her mother, Crystal. But that brief moment of darkness ultimately foreshadowed a much larger one: two days later, Crystal was murdered in their home in rural Maine, just a few feet from Sarah’s bedroom.

The killer escaped unseen; it would take the police twelve years to find him, time in which Sarah grew into adulthood, struggling with abandonment, police interrogations, and the effort of rebuilding her life when so much had been lost. Through it all she would dream of the eventual trial, a conviction—all her questions finally answered. But after the trial, Sarah’s questions only grew. She wanted to understand her mother’s life, not just her final hours, and so she began a personal investigation, one that drew her back to Maine, taking her deep into the abiding darkness of a small American town.

Told in searing prose, After the Eclipse is a luminous memoir of uncomfortable truth and terrible beauty, an exquisite memorial for a mother stolen from her daughter, and a blazingly successful attempt to cast light on her life once more.

About the author
Sarah Perry is the author of the memoir After the Eclipse, which was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Poets & Writers Notable Nonfiction Debut, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Perry is the recipient of the 2018 Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award and a fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction from Columbia University and is the 2019 McGee Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Davidson College.



About the Series » Read ME

Read ME is a statewide community read offered in partnership between the Maine Humanities Council and Maine State Library. Each year a well-known Maine author recommends two titles by lesser-known Maine authors.

2019’s recommending author Tess Gerritsen has chosen Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley and After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search by Sarah Perry for this year’s statewide community read. Look for related book and author events at PPL throughout the summer!

After a summer of reading and discussing the featured books, the Read ME season will culminate with an episode of Maine Calling aired in front of a live audience at Bangor Public Library on Thursday, August 29th, from 1-2pm. You are invited to join Maine State Library, Maine Calling, and Maine Humanities Council for a live discussion with this year’s Read ME recommending author Tess Gerritsen, as well as featured authors Susan Conley and Sarah Perry.


Paris Was the Place
by Susan Conley










Tess says:

“What’s a more seductive place to set a novel than in Paris? This story of a young American woman working abroad is both delicious and poignant, a tale of love and loss and, ultimately, hope. When Willie Pears helps a desperate girl escape immigration detention, she endangers her career and her budding romance with a French lawyer. The love of friends and family help her through this crisis, and the tragedy to come. Gorgeously written, this book had me in tears by the end.”

Place a Hold


After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search
by Sarah Perry










Tess says:

“On the night her mother was murdered, twelve-year-old Sarah Perry was asleep in the same house. Haunted by fractured memories of that night, and by the turbulent years that follow the murder, she tracks down the truth of what really happened. Ms. Perry’s memoir of her Maine childhood is both a gripping mystery and a heartbreaking love letter to the fiercely devoted mother she lost.”

Place a Hold