Families with Children from China New England

Free FCCNE Event: AT THE HEART OF THE UNIVERSE A novel about Chinese adoption

  • 12 May 2016
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138


Registration is closed

Families with Children From China New England with Harvard Book Store and the National Center on Adoption and Permanency welcome bestselling author SAMUEL SHEM for a discussion of his latest novel, At the Heart of the Universe, Inspired by his experiences as a parent of an adopted child. The author will be joined in conversation by ADAM PERTMAN, President of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, and KATIE SURREY-BERGMAN, and JANET SURREY.

About At the Heart of the Universe:
The story of two mothers and a father in love with the same daughter, Samuel Shem's At the Heart of the Universe is an epic novel set deep in rural China against the backdrop of an ancient mountain monastery during the time of the one-child-per-family policy. The novel describes the drama of adoption and the journey of loss and rebirth that can happen when a daughter brings together her adopted mother and father with her birth mother high on a mountaintop.

Set in 1991 in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, as a Chinese woman abandons her one-month-old daughter in a pile of celery in a busy market, and then shifting to Changsha ten years later as the daughter returns with her adopted American parents, the story moves across southern China until, high atop Emei San, one of China's "sacred mountains" with a Buddhist temple, the four are brought together in the wilderness—a perilous and explosive time that unleashes their heartbreak and suffering and, remarkably, transcends it to shared compassion, and new beginnings.Hear Samuel Shem (Dr. Steve Bergman), author of The House of God, in conversation with Adam Pertman, Adoption Nation, and with Katie Surrey-Bergman and Janet Surrey.

Free admission & booksigning.

Books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.


"The historic confrontation between America and China is distilled to its poignant essence in At the Heart of the Universe--a story of one family and its unbreakable ties both to one another, and to the larger human fate. Samuel Shem is a sharp-minded, compassionate writer whose work always illuminates.” --James Carroll

"A powerful, gripping, tour-de-force. A story that will stay with you forever, unforgettable characters and vivid writing that brings China alive from Changsha City to the sacred Mount Emei. One of the very best books I've ever read, and fallen in love with.” --Francis Moore Lappe, Diet for a Small Planet and Ecomind

“At the Heart of the Universe tells a moving story that is full of understanding, intimacy, and psychological intensity. In the context of a harrowing adventure in contemporary China, this large-hearted novel reaffirms the necessity of empathy, self-discovery, and love.” --Ha Jin, author of Waiting

Families with Children from China - New England

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